Larkin Hoffman Employment & Labor Law Blog

Insights on employment law for today’s employer

As we settle into the new year, I would like to share a few thoughts about what I believe is in store for us in 2019. 2019 Federal Legislation It is unlikely there will be any new federal legislation in the next two years, with one exception. There has been some talk among the Republicans supporting a federal paid family leave. With Ivanka Trump being a close advisor to President Trump, it is possible that…
Most of you will recall the fight in numerous political elections just a few years ago over the issue of whether same-sex couples have the right to marry.  The Supreme Court put the issue to rest through a decision in 2015, holding that the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides the fundamental right and requires all 50 states to recognize same-sex marriages on the same terms as opposite-sex marriages.  While that decision was certainly…
Snow day office closures and calls from employees unable to shovel their cars out of their driveways cause regular headaches for Minnesota employers in the winter. Now that winter is here and these issues are likely to arise, employers should review the wage and hour laws triggered by inclement weather and also review any related company policies. Pay obligations during inclement weather are largely dependent on a worker’s classification as exempt or nonexempt under the…
In helping employers with their written employment policies, we are often asked whether it is necessary to have a policy regarding employees’ use of cell phones for work purposes while driving.  The answer, as is often the case, is “it depends.”  If your employees drive as part of their job or commonly use their cell phones for work purposes while driving, then your company should address cell phone use while driving in a written policy. …
About a year ago, 10 days after the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment story broke, Alyssa Milano tweeted “– if this has happened to you tweet #MeToo.” In the first 24 hours after that tweet rocked the nation, Facebook had 12 million Facebook posts and a movement was born. The movement is creating new landscapes for employers as their obligations are shifting and cultural expectations are continuing to morph. New laws have been enacted or are…
If you’re an employer with questions regarding employee marijuana use, you’re not alone.  State and local governments are increasingly paving the way for cannabis use at what is generally viewed as a rapid pace. In addition to states where legislatures are acting independently to pass cannabis-related laws, in every election cycle, more marijuana-related issues find their way onto state ballots and more candidates run on platforms that expressly include marijuana reform. After every election cycle…
Don’t assume that men can’t sexually harass other men (or women can’t harass other women), or otherwise discriminate against them in violation of the civil rights laws. In August of this year, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision involving allegations of sexual harassment by a male employee against his male coworkers and supervisors in a small grocery store. Smith v. Rosebud Farm (7th Cir, 8/2/2018). Smith, a butcher, asserted that soon after he…
Earlier this year, Duluth passed its Earned Sick and Safe Time Ordinance, joining Minneapolis and St. Paul in requiring employers to provide their employees with paid sick and safe time leave, which the employees accrue over time and carry forward from year-to-year. Duluth’s ordinance goes into effect on January 1, 2020. Well before then, Duluth employers will need to understand the ordinance’s requirements and develop written policies implementing them for inclusion in their employee…
When I prepare a drug and alcohol testing policy for Minnesota clients, they often tell me it is their understanding that although post-accident testing is permitted under Minnesota law, it is prohibited by OSHA. Their perception that post-accident testing is unlawful is based on a 2016 change in OSHA’s reporting and retaliation policies, to prohibit employers from retaliating against employees for reporting work-related illnesses and injuries. In October 2018, OSHA issued a new memo which…
As many know, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to employees with serious health conditions. That leave is only available to eligible employees, generally those who have been employed for at least a year and worked at least 1,250 hours over the prior year. Many employers believe they do not need to grant any leave if the FMLA does not…