Minnesota's Supreme Court recently committed itself to addressing invasion of privacy matters, especially in the workplace. What's come of this is renewed interest in employee rights as it relates to employer's responsibility to respect their boundaries, even when they're on work premises. More specifically, it's left many asking whether it's lawful for employers to search employee computers and desks, tap their phones or voice concerns about personal choices.
The Women's Economic Security Act (WESA), also known as HF2536, was first drafted into law in Minnesota in 2014. The main objectives that the authors, who drafted this bill, had was to strengthen the rights of both women and families in the workplace and to address gender gaps in pay.
In our previous post, we began looking the topic of wrongful termination and sexual harassment in the context of Taylor Swift's recent groping claims. As we noted last time, underneath the defamation and assault/battery claims, the Taylor Swift groping incident raises not only the issue of wrongful termination but also that of sexual harassment.
Last week, the Minnesota House of Representatives voted to pass legislation that would remove the ability of local governments to establish wage and benefit ordinances. The measure would both invalidate existing ordinances and make any future attempts to pass such laws ineffective. One set of ordinances the measure would nullify would be the paid sick leave ordinances passed by both Minneapolis and St. Paul in 2016.
Last time, we looked briefly at a recently settled Minnesota case involving severance agreements in the Minneapolis Public School District. As we noted, about 50 district employees were required to sign the legally precarious agreements over the last 2 ½ years. In that case, the EEOC made it clear that requiring employees to waive their right to file discrimination lawsuits violates federal law.
One of the important issues for employees to be aware of is that they have rights when it comes to termination. These rights vary depending on the state you live in and any contractual agreements that may exist between the employee and the employer. All employees have protection from termination based on illegal grounds such as illegal discrimination or retaliation for whistle-blowing.
The ability to take job-protected, paid sick leave is something that many people take for granted, given that they work at companies with progressive policies. It is not a benefit that many workers have, though.
Previously, we began looking at the federal Equal Pay Act, which requires employers to pay equal wage rates to employees who perform essentially equal work. Employees who have been unfairly subjected to unequal pay on the job, by law, are able to seek relief by filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which administers and enforces the law.
We’ve been looking in recent posts at the topic of equal pay protections under both federal and state law. Under the Minnesota law, as we mentioned, employers may not bypass the equal pay requirement by securing agreements with employees to receive a lower wage than other workers who perform essentially equal work. Another important point to mention is that the law prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee for filing a complaint or for providing testimony in an investigation, proceedings, or a criminal action under the law.
One of the big issues in the workplace today is pay equality between the sexes. Although there are equal pay protections on the books, many believe these protections don’t go far enough and want to see additional measures put in place.