The beginning of a new year, or new fiscal year, can often bring changes to a company’s workforce. Many businesses will perform or complete performance reviews and implement compensation changes based on the prior year. The new year can also be a time when employees make moves of their own – new year, new job.

All of this activity can create some thorny questions about a company’s obligations to a departing employee. Let’s say an employee receives a glowing performance review that merits a bonus and a raise for the following year. They are paid the bonus on February 15th and given the raise with an effective date retroactive to January 1st. In the following March, the employee submits notice of their resignation, announcing that their family has decided to move, and they have accepted a new job out of state. Their last day will be April 30th. Can the employer claw back the bonus that was just paid? What about the salary increase?Continue Reading When Is a Raise Considered Earned in Minnesota?

While in session, New York state legislators introduce all kinds of bills, most of which do not become laws, or at least not right away. But even unsuccessful bills can clue us in on what lawmakers are thinking, what policies might be trending, and what changes future laws might bring. New York businesses can stay ahead of the game—and avoid ugly surprises—by identifying those employment-related bills that could signal important changes to come. Here are a few proposed laws introduced by the New York Assembly since the beginning of 2024. While none of these have passed, and they may not pass this year, prudent businesses will keep themselves apprised of what legislators are focused on in this ever-changing landscape.Continue Reading New York Employment Law: 2024 Legislative Update

The gig economy has had a substantial impact on employment nationwide, and Minnesota is no different. Minneapolis in particular has been a hotbed for disputes between rideshare companies and local lawmakers trying to increase pay for their drivers. National rideshare companies recently threatened to pull out of Minneapolis entirely after the city council mandated pay increases that the companies said went further than necessary to meet the city’s minimum wage standards. Implementation of the new ordinance, and the threatened exodus by rideshare employers, have been delayed while the state legislature works on passing new regulations for the industry that would apply across Minnesota.Continue Reading Changes Coming for Minnesota Rideshare Employees

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, there has been in increase in litigation challenging employers’ Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policies and practices. In one recent example, however, a conversative panel of judges in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an argument that a mandatory diversity training constituted unlawful discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.Continue Reading 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms that Mandatory Diversity Training does not Constitute Unlawful Discrimination

In the complex tapestry of workplace dynamics, there exists an often unspoken advantage known as the beauty premium or “pretty privilege.” This phenomenon refers to the societal bias toward individuals who are perceived as conventionally attractive. Over twenty years of scholarly articles show an unconscious preference to interact with people we may find attractive, even in the employment context during the hiring process and throughout employment. While it may seem superficial, pretty privilege can significantly impact one’s career trajectory, opportunities, and overall experience in the professional world.Continue Reading Pretty-Privilege: The Ugly Truth About Appearance Discrimination

In 2021, there was a mass shooting at a high school in Michigan in which four students were killed. As a result of this shooting, not only was the shooter prosecuted, but the parents of the shooter were charged with criminal liability by their failure to take ordinary care to act appropriately, and are, therefore, being tried for four counts of involuntary manslaughter. The mother was recently convicted.

Other parents in the last few months have pled guilty to charges of reckless conduct or neglect in these situations. Given this pattern, it is reasonably foreseeable that employers—if such shootings take place in the workplace—may also be prosecuted or subject to stiff personal injury claims due to shootings in the workplace, if they do not follow at least the minimum standards as set out in state law regarding restrictions on weapons in the workplace.Continue Reading Employers Beware: The Scope of Responsibility for Workplace Shootings Is Widening

Democrats and Republicans within the House Committee on Education and the Workforce have recently expressed bipartisan interest in raising or eliminating the statutory caps on damages for claims brought under Title VII and the ADA. While the plan is still in its very early stages, any revisions to statutory damages caps would have significant implications for employers.Continue Reading Congress Considers Raising or Eliminating the Statutory Caps on Damages for Claims Brought Under Title VII and the ADA

In our ever-evolving world, fostering cultural sensitivity is paramount for minimizing legal risks and creating inclusive, respectful work environments. Language plays a crucial role in shaping our perceptions, and unfortunately, some words used in everyday conversation may perpetuate stereotypes and contribute to cultural insensitivity. As employers gear up for the new year, they should consider abandoning the following words and phrases. Encouraging their employees to do the same will help create more inclusive work environments and mitigate the risk of discrimination claims brought by members of their workforce.Continue Reading Cultivating Cultural Sensitivity in the Workplace: Words to Leave Behind in 2024

When “Gymtimidation” Turns Into Discrimination

The issues of acceptance and comfort in fitness centers can pose serious challenges for owners. A healthy gym environment can empower all individuals, regardless of age, gender, ability, and race. However, if managed by inadequately trained staff or run without oversight, a gym can become a divisive place that breeds anxiety and fear. The phenomenon of “gymtimidation” is a popular topic among fitness center owners and gym enthusiasts alike. A 2022 study of roughly 3,000 individuals revealed that 90% of gym-goers are concerned about others’ opinions and 42% of gym-goers experience appearance-based anxiety while at the gym. Notably, Gen-Z gym-goers are the most affected by “gymtimidation,” with 38% of that demographic identifying “fear of judgment” as a reason for disliking gyms.Continue Reading Employment Discrimination in Fitness Centers: How Employers Can Combat Harassment and Create an Inclusive Environment for Employees and Patrons

In June 2022, the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Viking River Cruises v. Moriana allowed PAGA claims to be split into individual and non-individual (representative) claims, and consequently, under a valid enforceable arbitration agreement, employers could compel arbitration of individual PAGA claims. The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling established that once individual claims are compelled to arbitration, the remaining non-individual claims should be dismissed for lack of standing. Justice Sotomayor, in her concurring opinion, warned that if the Court’s interpretation of California law as to standing was incorrect, the final authority would rest with the California courts and legislature.Continue Reading California Supreme Court Keeps Representative PAGA Claims Afloat in State Court