Minnesota’s legislative session came to a close in May and last week Governor Dayton signed the last of the passed bills into law. The following is our summary of the new laws employers need to keep in mind.
1. Medical Marijuana Legalization includes Employment Related Provisions.
The law provides in part that unless a failure to do so would violate federal law or regulations, or cause an employer to lose a monetary or licensing-related benefit under federal laws or regulations, an employer may not discriminate against a person in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment for being enrolled in the State’s medical marijuana registry, or having a positive drug test, unless the patient used, possessed, or was impaired by medical cannabis on the employer’s premises during working hours. An employee who tests positive for marijuana may explain that result by verifying that the employee or applicant is enrolled in the State’s patient registry.
2. Jury Trial Right for Claims Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act.
Previously, lawsuits against employers under the Minnesota Human Rights Act would have been heard by a judge. As a result of this new law those claims will be decided by a jury, which is generally viewed as increasing the likelihood of larger verdicts against employers for discrimination claims.
3. Sales Representative Agreements Must Apply Minnesota Law.
Minnesota has one of the strictest and most burdensome Sales Representative laws in the country for companies using independent contractor sales representatives. Some companies have tried to avoid the restrictions of Minnesota law by including provisions that the Sales Representative Agreement would be governed by the law of some other state. The law now directly states that Sales Representative Agreements in Minnesota cannot include a provision attempting to apply the law of some other state.
4. New Minimum Wage
New minimum wage requirements imposed on Large Employers:
$8.00 per hour beginning August 1, 2014;
$9.00 per hour beginning August 1, 2015;
$9.50 per hour beginning August 1, 2016;
New minimum wage requirements imposed on Small Employers:
$6.50 per hour beginning August 1, 2014:
$7.25 per hour beginning August 1, 2015;
$7.75 per hour beginning August 1, 2016;
More details regarding this new law were provided in a previous LawFacts still available at https://www.prkalaw.com/blog/minnesota-minimum-wage-dramatically-increased
5. Women’s Economic Security Act.
This bill has many new requirements across a broad range of topics including employee wage disclosure protections, nursing mother accommodations, expanded pregnancy and parental leave, expansion of sick leave and pay equity certification requirements for certain companies contracting with the State of Minnesota.
More details regarding this new law were provided in a previous LawFacts still available at https://www.prkalaw.com/blog/time-update-your-handbook-2014-minnesota-womens-economic-security-act.
6. “Responsible Contractor” Law.
This new law essentially bars any contractor from doing business with the State for three years, if, among other things, during any three year period commencing July 1, 2014: (1) the United States Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division has issued a finding of underpayment of wages that has become final regardless of the amount; (2) the Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry issued an order to comply that has become final; (3) the Minnesota Department of Transportation has issued at least two determination letters finding an underpayment by the contractor regardless of the amount; (4) the Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry has found the contractor to have repeatedly or willfully violated the Minnesota Prevailing Wage Act; (5) the contractor repeatedly failed to pay wages or statutorily required penalties on one or more separate projects that total $25,000 or more; or (6) has been found liable for underpayment of wages or penalties or misrepresenting a construction worker as an independent contractor brought in a court having jurisdiction.
More details regarding this new law were provided in a previous LawFacts still available at https://www.prkalaw.com/blog/new-law-impacts-construction-contractors-are-you-responsible-contractor. Peters, Revnew, Kappenman & Anderson, P.A. attorney Tom Revnew is presenting a seminar on this topic on June 11, 2014. Still time to sign up HERE!
If you want to learn more about how these and other new laws might affect your own business, please contact Martin Kappenman at email@example.com or any of the Peters, Revnew, Kappenman & Anderson, P.A. attorneys.