Employment Law FAQ’s


If an employee request to see their personnel file, do I have to comply?
Yes, Minnesota Statute 181.961 provides that upon written request the employer shall provide the employee with an opportunity to review the employee’s personnel record. The request must be handled within 7 days if the record is maintained within this state or within 14 days if the record is maintained in another state.
What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment of an individual is prohibited by state and federal laws. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Section 703) establishes that employers may not discriminate on the basis of sex, and that sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. Any number of actions may constitute sexual harassment.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commision (EEOC),which is the body that is charged with enforcing Title VII, defines sexual harassment as:

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal and physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sex harassment when [a] submission to such conduct is made an explicit or implicit term or condition of an individual’s employment, [b] submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions, and [c] such conduct unreasonably interferes with work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.

29 U.SC. §1604.11

If you have question about your companies’ sexual harassment policy or need educational training on prevention of sexual harassment in the work place, please contact Herring Legal PLLC.

What prevents age discrimination?

The easy answer is Minnesota Statute and Federal Statute. In Minnesota, two statutes are applicable to age discrimination Minn. Stat. §363.01, et. seq. and Minn. Stat. §181.81.

Federally the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prevents age discrimination in the work place. 29 U.S.C. §621-634. Under the ADEA, it is unlawful to fail to hire, discharge,  reduce wages, etc.

As an employer, you must understand how the various age discrimination laws affect your business. Please contact Herring Legal PLLC for a free assessment of your current policies.

Can my company use noncompete agreements for key employees?
A noncompete clause is an employment contract or agreement in which the employee agrees not to compete with the employer or work with a competitor after termination of the employment agreement. In Minnesota, noncompete agreements are upheld if they are necessary to protect the employer’s reasonable interest and do not impose unreasonable restraint on the employee’s rights. The reasonableness of the restraint can be tested using time and geography.

If you need to ensure your noncompete agreements are properly drafted, please contact Herring Legal PLLC.

Can I classify an employee as an independent contractor?
Not classifying an employee correctly can have major financial implications on your business. Because this area of the law is extremely complicated, it is prudent to speak with attorney if you have a question about designating a worker as an independent contractor. There are different statutes and several different tests that determine whether the party is an employee or an independent contractor. If you have a classification question, please contact Herring Legal PLLC.
Why do I need an employment law attorney all my employees are employed at-will?
Because there are many judicial exceptions in Minnesota to at-will employment, you may need an attorney to advise you during the hiring and termination of employees. Judicial exceptions fall into three categories: contracts and quasi-contracts; torts; and public policy.

In Minnesota, exceptions to the at-will rule were identified in Pine River State Bank v. Mettille. Since then, the courts have imposed several limitations on and exceptions to at-will employment. Most notable is the contract-based exception. Courts have found contractual obligations relating to job security or disciplinary procedure limiting the employer’s authority to discharge an employee. These contractual obligations may be found in oral statements made at the time of hiring, pre-employment letters, and employee handbooks. The court has even found contractual obligations based on past personnel practices and longevity of service.

If you have any questions regarding whether your employees are at-will employees, please contact Herring Legal PLLC.