Nov
23

Social Security Benefits and Unauthorized Work - Clearing the Shrouds of Mystery

It is an urban myth that those who work without authorization in the United States will still receive social security benefits.  In fact, individuals who worked previously in the United States may need to act to ensure they receive proper credit for the work they performed after they become authorized to work.

The root of this dynamic is the Social Security Protection Act of 2004.  President Bush, in an effort to placate his party, pushed for legislation that changed who is eligible for retirement benefits for work performed in the United States.  The Protection Act bars payment to...

Mar
16

Leaving a Bitter Taste in Your Mouth - Unsavory Pay Practices in the Food Service Industry

An editorial in the NY Times from March of 2018 highlighted the perceived injustices of pay practices in the restaurant industry. They focused on the most commonly recognized issue of payment at rates below the standard minimum wage levels for tipped employees in states that allow such practices.[1] But while these practices are explicitly authorized under many wage laws, the restaurant industry is rife with other pay practices that do violate employment law at the local or federal level.

A 2014 report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) cited statistics from the U.S. DOL Wage and Hour...

Aug
6

Thieving Employer or a Trap for the Inattentive? Minnesota's New Wage Theft Statute

The New Minnesota Wage Theft Law Creates Big Risks for Unwary Employers.  Starting August 1, 2019, the date of this post, Minnesota employers committing “wage theft” will now be guilty of a crime. This is just one part of a recent and substantive set of employment reforms in Minnesota intended to enhance worker protections.[1] “Wage theft,” for purposes of the new law, includes any of the following conducted with an intent to defraud:

Failure to pay an employee all wages, salary, gratuities, earnings, or commissions at the employee’s rate or rates of pay or at the rate or...
Jan
12

Can I be fired for that?

One of the most common questions posed to Wilson Law Group is “Can I be fired for that?” 

The answer is almost always, “It depends.”   As an employee in Minnesota, your employment is likely “at will.”  This means that, subject to certain exceptions discussed below, your employer can fire you for nearly any reason.  This ability to fire creates a power imbalance between you and your employer. It is imperative, therefore, that you understand the law and your rights and, if necessary, retain aggressive legal representation. 

Your employment in Minnesota is likely “at...

Feb
28

The PTO Pandora's Box - the Evolution of Handbook Disclaimers in Minnesota

Minnesota state law has never had a requirement for employers to offer paid time off, much less pay out paid time off upon a separation from employment. But since the Minnesota Supreme Court’s 2007 decision in Lee v. Fresenius Med. Care, employers that had a PTO policy in place had to at least follow their own policy. 741 N.W.2d 117 (Minn. 2007). That decision, and related decisions elsewhere, led many employers to include disclaimers in their policies stating that the policies did not create any binding agreement and that the employer was free to change the policy and benefits at any...

Dec
27

Are Owner/Employees Able to Maintain Discrimination Claims Against the Company?

Are Owner/Employees Able to Maintain Discrimination Claims Against the Company?

According to a recent decision by the Seventh Circuit, the answer to the question above is more or less a simple “no.” The case at issue is Bluestein v. Central Wisc. Anesthesiology. The facts concern a medical professional (Bluestein) who, after a period of employment, became a shareholder and voting board member for the Defendant company. After suffering a severe injury, Bluestein requested an indefinite leave of absence and the company demanded her resignation, stating that they would “terminate her...

Apr
9

Initiating Minnesota Wage Claims

The vast majority of employers pay employees on time and using proper calculations. Of course, problems can and do arise in this area. When an employer fails to pay, or calculates pay incorrectly, the consequences can be rather severe if the employer does not take quick action to correct the problem. This post will briefly outline a few of the most common ways an employee may initiate wage claims against an employer in Minnesota.

Informal Notice and Demand for Wages

For a terminated or laid-off employee, wages earned at the time of discharge are immediately due to an employee upon demand....

Sep
28

Calculating Wages Not Paid: Tyson Foods v. Bouaphakeo

In a decision earlier this year, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that employees proceeding together as a putative class, or as a collective for claims under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), can demonstrate commonality through statistical evidence that is not particular to the plaintiffs and events at issue. The decision in the case, Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo et al., 765 F.3d 791 (2016)[1] dealt with Tyson employees who stated that their employer failed to compensate them for time putting on and taking off protective gear required for that work. They claimed that...

Apr
8

How the Naughty Employee Is the Employer's Problem

An employee in Minnesota, acting in good faith and within the scope of the employee’s work, is normally protected from direct civil liability by his or her employer through what is typically referred to as indemnification. Minnesota lays out this protection in statute at section 181.970 – Employee Indemnification. It typically covers all damages, penalties, and fines. You can find the statute here: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=181.970.

At its heart this law states that an employer, not the employee, is responsible for damages resulting from the conduct of the employee on the...