John A. Klassen, P.A.
612-217-4988 877-390-4527

Minneapolis Wrongful Termination Law Blog

Age discrimination impacting retirement plans

Job security and a timely retirement are often in the life plans and goals of individuals in Minnesota and other states across the nation. While maintaining a job for years and retiring at the age of choice is both ideal and doable for some employees, it is not so easy for others. As workers age, it might be difficult to maintain a job or remain relevant in the industry, especially if age discrimination is the cause for a layoff, firing and unemployment. Moreover, this situation could greatly impact his or her retirement plans.

Age discrimination impacts older workers in both job searches and at their place of employment. Moreover, it negatively impacts an aging worker's ability to find work and even save for retirement. According to recent statistics, the overall unemployment rate for those 45-years-old and older is not higher than those in other age groups, however, the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated in a recent report that incidences of long-term unemployment increases dramatically with age.

Addressing religious discrimination in the workplace

Discrimination in the workplace is a difficult issue for employees and employers to deal with. Whether a worker is experiencing discrimination from a co-worker or a supervisor, it is important that individuals being mistreated or discriminated against have rights and resources to put a stop to this. Employees in Minnesota and other states across the nation may experience or witness different forms of discrimination, and it is important to understand what steps could be taken in these situations.

As last week's blog pointed out, religious discrimination in the workplace is a serious issue affecting the religious freedom of individuals. Discrimination based on religion occurs when an employee's ability to practice his or her religion is under attack.

What are the religious rights in the workplace?

Workplaces in Minnesota and elsewhere in the nation often employ individuals from different backgrounds, embodying different personal characteristics. Diversity in the workplace is often highlighted as a positive factor, helping to add value to the workplace. While diversification is considered positive, some employees have rather negative experiences regarding his or her difference. Due to differences in race, culture and religion, some employees may experience discrimination and harassment, leading to a hostile work environment.

What are the religious rights in the workplace? Because religious discrimination is a serious type of employment discrimination because it attacks an individual's beliefs and faith, employees should understand what rights are afforded to him or her in the situation. According to the Civil Right Act, employees and prospective employees cannot be treated differently because of his or her religious beliefs.

Considering invisible disabilities and disability discrimination

Being safe and comfortable in the work environment seems to be a given and expected circumstance in the workplace; however, this is not experienced by all employees in Minnesota and other states in the nation. In some cases, an employee might feel mistreated due to a personal characteristic, no matter how obvious that characteristic is. In these matters, employee rights still exist and afford employees the opportunity to speak out about these situations, seek a resolution and possibly file an action for compensation for damages.

When individuals think about disabilities suffered by colleagues, it is common to consider obvious and visible disabilities such as those that physically impair an individual. While it is clear that an employee confined to a wheelchair would need reasonable accommodations in the workplace, those suffering less noticeable or invisible disabilities should also be afforded the same workplace accommodations as other employees with disabilities.

Taking action against disability discrimination

Residents in Minnesota often envision the workplace as a comfortable environment that accepts employees from different backgrounds and with different characteristics. While it is very possible for the work environment to be friendly and filled with content employees, there are some situations that could disrupt even the most peaceful workplace. Our law firm understands that events of discrimination not only disrupt the work environment, they violate the rights of employees.

Dealing, or living, with a temporary or permanent disability can present some life challenges. In the work environment, if an employee is mistreated because of his or her mental or physical disability, this is considered a form of discrimination. Our law firm has successfully helped past clients combat situations involving harassment and discrimination based on a disability.

What does sexual harassment in the workplace look like?

No matter the age or sex of an employee, the issue of sexual harassment at work is well known. While employees in Minnesota and elsewhere are aware of the seriousness of sex discrimination, many are not fully prepared to deal with such a situation. Moreover, some may not be able to distinguish instances of sexual harassment, causing them to not take appropriate action against mistreatment at work.

What does sexual harassment in the workplace look like? While sexual harassment is not specifically addressed and defined in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employees are protected from sex discrimination and any form of harassment that creates a hostile work environment even if it does not violate a federal law. So simply put, an employer or co-worker could violate the rules in a workplace even if a federal law is not violated.

Knowing when to blow the whistle and invoke whistleblower rights

Being a whistleblower at a place of employment is not an easy position to be in for employees in Minnesota and elsewhere. Even though an employee is taking a step to ensure a business or employer is in compliance with the law, ensuring the health and safety of employees and the legalities of the business, being a whistleblower is not often considered to be positive. In fact, many employees fear taking the step to blow the whistle on an employer out of fear that an employer might retaliate against them for their actions.

In order to address the concern for employer retaliation, employees should understand when they should be a whistleblower and what rights and protections are afforded to them if they decide to do so. If an employee witnesses or believes a violation regarding state or federal laws is occurring at the workplace, reporting a violation is often recommended.

Time extended for whistleblower rights violations

Employees in Minnesota might encounter situations in the workplace that they are uncomfortable with or cause them to question the legality of the actions carried out by their employer. If an employee believes that their employer is violating some law in the workplace, employees are afforded the right to file a claim against their employer. However, some employees fear that they might be wrong or the aftermath of filing a complaint could result in employer retaliation. Due to these scenarios, whistleblower rights have been implemented to protect individuals who blow the whistle on their employers. Moreover, laws have been passed to address the concerns to initiate the original complaint.

Employees in Minnesota should understand the recent changes to the Minnesota Whistleblowers Act or MWA. These changes occurred late last year and resulted in an extension of the statute of limitations regarding when a complaint must be filed. Previously, plaintiffs were required to file a complaint within two years of the alleged violation. The recent ruling by the Minnesota Court of Appeals allowed for the two-year window to be extended to six years.

What protects employees and applicants from race discrimination?

Unfortunately, there are times when employees in Minnesota and elsewhere feel mistreated or discriminated against in the workplace. While it can be an uncomfortable and emotional situation, employees should understand that specific legislation has been passed to protect the rights afforded to employees, allowing them to take action if they are violated.

What protects employees and applicants from race discrimination? According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 works to protect employees and applicants from racial discrimination in several ways.

Understanding the rate of age-related complaints in the workplace

With age usually comes knowledge and experience, but in the workplace, age is not always treated so kindly. In fact, the age of an employee or applicant is commonly cited in workplace discrimination claims. Employees in Minnesota should understand how age could be a form of discrimination at the workplace. Moreover, they should understand what actions could be taken when age discrimination occurs.

While it is popular belief that age-related complaints are among the highest types of discrimination complaints filed with the federal government, a report by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or EEOC indicates that 2014 is the sixth consecutive year that age discrimination cases have dropped. In addition, over the past two decades, the percentage of claims determined to be reasonable have been dropping as well.

Defending the Civil Rights of Vulnerable People

When employers discriminate or allow harassment and retaliation to take place or continue, we are dedicated to holding them accountable for their unlawful actions.

Office Location & Contacts
John A. Klassen, PA
Attorneys at Law
310 4th Avenue South
Suite 5010
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Phone: 612-217-4988
Toll Free: 877-390-4527
Fax number: 612-204-4534