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Employment Laws in Minnesota

Filed under Hiring Workers. Fact checked on June 7, 2013.

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Employers in Minnesota must conform to these state rules relating to the employment relationship.

Employee means a person who is employed by an employer and who resides or works in Minnesota.

Employee includes a commissioned salesperson who works or resides in the state.

Employee does not include a person:

  • employed by his or her parent, grandparent, spouse, child or grandchild
  • in the domestic service of a person

Employer means a person with one or more employees.

Prohibited Employment Discrimination

Except when based on a bona fide occupational qualification, it is an unfair employment practice to discriminate against job applicants or employees on the basis of:

  • race
  • color
  • creed
  • religion
  • national origin
  • sex
  • marital status
  • status with regard to public assistance
  • membership or activity in a local commission
  • disability
  • sexual orientation
  • gender identity
  • age (under 70 years of age)
  • use of lawful consumable products off the employer's premises during nonworking hours

Employers with 15 part-time or full-time employees during 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year must make reasonable accommodation to the known disability of a qualified disabled person or job applicant unless the employer can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the business, agency, or organization.

Employers must, with respect to all employment-related activities, treat women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or disabilities related to pregnancy or childbirth, the same as other persons who are not so affected but who are similar in their ability or inability to work, including a duty to make reasonable accommodations.

Business Discrimination. It is an unfair discriminatory practice for a person engaged in a trade or business or in providing a service to refuse to do business with or provide a service to a woman based on her use of her current or former surname; to impose that a woman use her current surname rather than a former surname as a condition of doing business; or to intentionally refuse to do business with, to refuse to contract with, or to discriminate in the basic terms, conditions, or performances of the contract because of a person's race, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, or disability, unless the alleged refusal or discrimination is because of a legitimate business purpose.

Use of lawful products. Employers may restrict the use of lawful consumable products, such as tobacco, during non-working hours if it is necessary to avoid a conflict of interest with any responsibilities owed by the employee to the employer or the usage is reasonably related to employment activities of a particular employee or group of employees.

It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an individual who uses lawful alcohol or tobacco products off the employer's premises during nonworking hours unless such usage affects the individual's past or present job performance.

Crime victims. An employer can not discharge, discipline, threaten, otherwise discriminate against, or penalize an employee regarding the employee's compensation, terms, conditions, location, or privileges of employment because the employee took reasonable time off to attend a criminal proceeding.

Bioterrorism. Minnesota has employment protections in place for employees who have been subject to isolation or quarantine for a communicable disease believed to be caused by bioterrorism or new or previously controlled or eradicated agents or toxins.

Same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage is legalized effective August 1, 2013.

Recordkeeping/Posting Requirements

Every employer must post in a conspicuous place a notice written or approved by the Commissioner of Labor and Industry stating that the mandatory retirement age is age 70.

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