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Sexual Harassment

A claim under the Minnesota Human Rights Act for sexual harassment, must relate to conduct that is “sexual” in nature, not simply gender-based.  The Minnesota Court of Appeals recently made that point, in an unpublished decision, upholding summary judgment by the Sherburne County District Court of a lawsuit brought by an employee who asserted that her […]

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Navigating Noncompete Agreements

The tide seems to be turning in Minnesota in favor of the use of these restrictive employment devices. Minnesota formerly was a safe harbor, relatively speaking, for employees navigating through noncompete contracts.  But rulings by the Minnesota Court of Appeals in recent years, including two last winter, signify troubled waters for employees who seem to be swimming […]

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Unemployment Compensation

Contested unemployment compensation proceedings are handled through telephone conferences involving an unemployment law judge (ULJ) of the Department of Employment & Economic Development (DEED) and the parties and their witnesses. In 2009, there were more than 34,000 such cases. As two recent cases demonstrate, problems can arise when parties or witnesses are not available to […]

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Looking Back: A Century Without Executions

This spring marks the 100th anniversary of the abolition of capital punishment in Minnesota, a practice that has had a controversial and colorful history. The late comedian Pat Paulsen, who occasionally ran for president as a gag, was once asked whether he was in favor of capital punishment: “No,” the comic deadpanned, “Washington, D.C. has […]

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Whither Whistleblowing? Uncertainty Stalks the Way Ahead

The Minnesota Supreme Court’s Kidwell decision has left whistleblowing employees, employers, and advocates for both with less than they had hoped for, while leaving a number of uncertainties for all who ponder the new bounds of whistleblower law. The long-awaited ruling this summer by the Minnesota Supreme Court in the landmark whistleblower case of Kidwell […]

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Play Ball: 50 Years of Twins Litigation Lore

The opening of a new stadium and the onset of the sixth decade of Twins baseball in Minnesota provides the occasion to reflect on some highlights and occasional lowlights of Twins litigation lore.

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Hot Heads, Single Incidents, and Overall Conduct

Unemployment compensation claimants who were discharged for isolated incidents of misconduct have had mixed success before the courts over the years, not least because the controlling doctrine, alternately articulated in case law and in statute, continues to evolve.

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The Year of the Student

A plethora of appellate decisions in the past year addressed school-related issues.  At the United States Supreme Court, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Minnesota appellate courts education was the context for many important decisions. Unlike that of most tribunals, including those in Minnesota, the work of the United States Supreme Court has […]

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The Privacy Paradox

Ten years after its birth, the right of privacy in Minnesota continues to raise conflicting considerations. In July 1998, Minnesota joined virtually every other state in recognizing an individual’s right of privacy.  After years of unsuccessful effort, privacy advocates enthusiastically greeted the Minnesota Supreme Court’s adoption of a common law right of privacy.  Those who […]

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Changes Afoot for FMLA

Unchanged over 15 years on the statute books, the federal Family & Medical Leave Act has often been applied and construed by Minnesota’s federal district and appellate courts.  Change is now in the wind, as the Department of Labor has issued proposed regulations that are expected to take effect later this spring. This winter—February 5, 2008, […]

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