On April 29, 2022, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed Senate File (S.F.) No. 2677 into law, replenishing the state unemployment coffers and authorizing payments to various frontline workers. This new law requires Minnesota employers to provide notice to eligible frontline workers regarding potential additional benefits available to them.
The Minnesota Legislature, currently in regular session until mid- to late May 2022, has drafted various bills that may impact Minnesota employers and employees. Notably, some of the major bills under consideration (or already enacted) include a hair antidiscrimination bill, a measure extending the COVID-19 presumption of workers’ compensation eligibility for certain healthcare workers, and a proposal to restrict noncompete agreements.
On February 4, 2022, Governor Tim Walz signed House File (H.F.) 1203 into law, which extends the presumption that certain frontline healthcare workers contracted COVID-19 at work if they test positive. The prior presumption had expired on December 31, 2021.
On January 13, 2022, in Waters v. Day & Zimmermann NPS, Inc., the First Circuit Court of Appeals became the third federal appellate court to address the application of the Supreme Court of the United States’ decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California to Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) collective actions. Unlike the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, the First Circuit concluded that a federal court does have personal jurisdiction over claims asserted by nonresident opt-in plaintiffs. The First Circuit’s decision thus creates a split among federal appeals courts and raises the prospect that the Supreme Court will ultimately have to resolve the issue.
On January 12, 2022, just one week after issuing mask mandates, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter issued executive orders mandating that places of public accommodation serving food and drinks indoors require persons to furnish proof of vaccination or negative PCR or antigen tests. Then, on January 13, 2022, and January 14, 2022, respectively, Mayor Carter and Mayor Frey each issued additional emergency regulations amending their January 12, 2022, orders.
Minnesota’s Occupational Safety Administration (MNOSHA) adopted the federal Occupational Safety Health Administration’s (OSHA) COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on January 3, 2022, and began enforcing the rules on January 10, 2022. Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United stayed the enforcement of the ETS and remanded the case to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which will now consider the merits of the case.
As the mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul did last week, Duluth’s mayor, Emily Larson, issued an indoor mask mandate, effective January 13, 2022, due to the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
On January 3, 2022, Minnesota’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MNOSHA) adopted the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) published on November 5, 2021.
As companies returned to work following the holidays, changes to Minnesota’s nursing mothers statute and pregnancy accommodations law (Minn. Stat. § 181.939) went into effect on January 1, 2022. Minnesota employers may want to take a moment to make sure their policies and practices are up to date.
On Wednesday, January 5, 2022, Mayor Jacob Frey of Minneapolis and Mayor Melvin Carter of St. Paul, Minnesota, issued indoor mask mandates for their cities due to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, which currently accounts for approximately 68 percent of cases in Minnesota (and rising).
In 2022, while the federal minimum wage will remain at $7.25 per hour for non-tipped employees and $2.13 per hour for tipped employees, several states’ minimum wage rates will increase. The chart below lists the state (and certain major locality) minimum wage rate increases for 2022—and future years if available—along with the related changes in the maximum tip credit and minimum cash wage for tipped employees.
In a November 30, 2021, order, a federal judge sitting in Louisiana entered a nationwide preliminary injunction against the Biden administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) interim final rule entitled “Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination.” The effect of the order is that CMS must immediately “cease all implementation or enforcement of the [CMS] Rule” in the remaining 40 states not covered by an earlier November 29, 2021, order from a federal judge sitting in Missouri that prevented implementation and enforcement of the CMS rule in only 10 states.
On August 11, 2021, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued a decision of significance to any owner or manager of residential properties in Minnesota that employs live-in caretakers or property managers. The court confirmed that such businesses and their live-in employees may enter into agreements that include the payment of rent credits toward employees’ wages, as long as those agreements comply with certain legal requirements.
States have been busy when it comes to marijuana laws. Before the mid-2010s, employers tended not to worry about state marijuana laws because of marijuana’s illegal status under federal law. However, those days are over, and state marijuana legalization laws continue to affect how employers can run their workplaces.
Hospitality and event center workers received additional job rights protection under a new ordinance passed by the Minneapolis City Council. The new ordinance requires employers to recall those workers, if and when they are needed in reverse order of seniority. Ordinance No.2021-12, entitled “Hospitality Worker Right to Recall,” seeks to minimize the impact on affected employees in an industry particularly hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and to stabilize the workforce.
On March 12, 2021, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz dialed back Minnesota’s COVID-19–related restrictions by issuing Emergency Executive Order (EO) 21-11, “Adjusting Limitations on Certain Activities and Taking Steps Forward.” Most provisions of the executive order went into effect on March 15, 2021, and relate to activities outside of the home, including relaxing restrictions on specific businesses (e.g., restaurants, bars, indoor gyms, and entertainment venues).
In November 2020, voters in five states (Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota) voted in favor of legalizing medical and/or recreational marijuana. Since then, there have been several developments within the marijuana legalization world that employers may want to keep an eye on as they move forward in 2021.
Minnesota employers will be heading back to the drawing board to revise their handbook disclaimers. The Minnesota Supreme Court now requires specific language in policies that set out the terms and conditions for payment of certain employee benefits such as payouts of vacation and paid time off (PTO).
Several states’ minimum wage rates will increase in 2021. The following chart lists the state (and certain major locality) minimum wage increases for 2021—and future years, if available—along with the related changes in the maximum tip credit and minimum cash wage for tipped employees.
On November 18, 2020, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz dialed back Minnesota’s phased reopening and ongoing loosening of COVID-19–related restrictions by issuing Emergency Executive Order (EO) 20-99, “Implementing a Four Week Dial Back on Certain Activities to Slow the Spread of COVID-19.”
Elections in the United States are scheduled for Tuesday, November 3, 2020. Not only will the office of president of the United States be contested, but all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate are up for grabs. At the state level, elections will be held for the governorships of 11 U.S. states and 2 U.S. territories.
Now that the Minnesota Supreme Court has settled the issue of applying the Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time (SST) ordinance to employers “with no physical presence in Minneapolis,” what does this mean for employers with employees who are working remotely in their homes within the city? It may mean that those employees are covered by the Minneapolis SST ordinance and possibly by other similar ordinances.
Continuing a trend that saw Minnesota courts dismiss at least eight disability access lawsuits under Title III of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 2018 and 2019, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over Minnesota as well as several other states, recently affirmed the dismissals of three more Title III cases.
The City of Minneapolis’s Sick and Safe Time Ordinance requiring employers with employees who perform at least 80 hours of work in a year in the city with paid time off for illness or other personal matters does not conflict with state laws on the subject, nor does it unlawfully extend the city’s laws outside its geographic boundaries.
In a much-anticipated decision, the Minnesota Supreme Court on June 3, 2020, declined to abandon the requirement that harassing conduct be “severe or pervasive” to be actionable under the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA).
On June 5, 2020, Governor Tim Walz continued with the phased reopening of Minnesota by issuing Executive Order 20-74. Effective June 10, 2020, this executive order will further loosen restrictions on businesses that are places of public accommodation.
In his Emergency Executive Order 20-56 issued on May 13, 2020, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signaled plans for a broad reopening of Minnesota businesses. Governor Walz expanded on earlier Executive Orders 20-40 and 20-48 (which reopened some non-critical businesses) by allowing additional non-critical businesses (such as malls and retail stores) to open on May 18, 2020, provided that these businesses have a “preparedness plan” in place.
On the evening of May 13, 2020, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued Emergency Executive Order 20-56, “Safely Reopening Minnesota’s Economy and Ensuring Safe Non-Work Activities during the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency.” Executive Order 20-56 provides a loosening of both business restrictions and social restrictions in Minnesota.
On May 4, 2020, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed Emergency Executive Order (EO) 20-50, which temporarily suspends the service of wage garnishment summonses in Minnesota for consumer debts originating “from the purchase of goods or services purchased primarily for a personal, family, or household purpose, and not for a commercial, agricultural, or business purpose.”
On April 30, 2020, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued Emergency Executive Order (EO) 20-48, extending Minnesota’s stay-at-home order through May 18, 2020, but providing the opportunity for some Minnesota retailers to begin reopening under certain conditions.