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November 2013 Archives

Del Monte Thai employees get $1.2M for workplace discrimination

Minnesota readers may be interested to learn that workers who pick pineapples for Del Monte Fresh Produce were awarded a $1.2 million settlement on claims of abuse on farms in Hawaii. Thai immigrants allegedly received employment discrimination from a contractor hired by the Del Monte unit, which is one of the biggest producers in the world of fresh fruit and vegetables. The purported mistreatment occurred from 2003 to 2006, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said that the money would be split between the former employees.

Should I secretly record evidence of unlawful workplace behavior?

If you’re suspicious that something unlawful is going on in your workplace, you may have wondered whether it would be a good idea to secretly record phone calls or conversations in order to gather evidence before blowing the whistle. If you work in Minnesota, you absolutely should not do so without first talking to an attorney.

Setting up a healthcare proxy

Setting up a healthcare proxy and putting together advanced care directives is a very important part of estate planning. Yet for some Minnesotans it presents a challenge since there might be a lack of suitable person to appoint as a proxy. Particularly for those without children or any nearby younger relatives, finding the right person to step in and help in the event of incapacity can be difficult to do.

Woman leaves estate entirely to scholarships

A mysterious woman without any remaining family recently made the news when she left around $4 million to charity, specifically in the form of scholarships for several schools and universities near where she had lived. The woman’s gift came as a surprise to many since she had worked as an office administrator and paralegal and lived in a modest home.

Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would fortify employee protections

35 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that discrimination against pregnant women who wanted to continue working was not sex discrimination. Instead, the court said, it was merely discrimination between women who were pregnant and women who were not, which was not illegal.

Minnesota nurse licensing crackdown: what about employees' rights?

A recent investigative series in the Star Tribune has shaken up the Minnesota Board of Nursing and nurses around the state. The investigation discovered some 294 licensed nursing professionals who were listed in the Minnesota Court Information System, or MNCIS, as having misdemeanor convictions that apparently disqualify them from licensure. That investigation prompted a joint hearing before the Minnesota House and Senate health and human services committees, scheduled for Nov. 13.

Who do you include in your estate plan?

At the beginning of the estate planning process, one of the big questions that a person must answer is “who is included in this plan?” Inclusion can mean someone who receives a gift, it can mean an organization that benefits from a gift, or it can mean a trusted friend, family member, or advisor named to act as executor to the will or administer a trust. People making estate plans will often figure out the answer to the question of inclusion as they go along, forming inclusion as they form the overall strategy. However, this is an important question that can be helpful to think about in advance, particularly as families are morphing and changing all the time with births, marriages, divorces, and deaths. 

Do your kids know what to expect out of their inheritance?

Bringing up the topic of estate planning with loved ones is never easy, but most planning experts agree that even those who have complete plans already in place should strongly consider discussing those plans with their spouse, parents, children, or siblings. Even if it seems like everything is settled, it is generally thought to be wise to let loved ones know what to expect, particularly when it comes to children who are anticipating an inheritance of some kind.

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