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How the New Amendments Are Protecting Employees

06.23.2023 Written by: Business Law Department

On July 1, 2023, in addition to the new noncompete legislation, two new amendments will go into effect that will impact employees and businesses. The amendment to the wage disclosure protection will prohibit employers from retaliating against an employee for asserting rights or remedies, and there will be an increase in protection for nursing mothers and employees. Continue reading our blog as we navigate the two new amendments going into effect this year.

Amendment to the Wage Disclosure Protection

Effective July 1, 2023, the Wage Disclosure Protection will prohibit employers from discharging, disciplining, penalizing, interfering with, threatening, restraining, coercing, retaliating, or discriminating against an employee for asserting his or her rights or remedies under the Wage Disclosure Protection.

The Wage Disclosure Protection was enacted in 2014 and amended in 2022. The previous language merely prohibited an employer from retaliating against an employee for asserting rights or remedies under the Protection. The July 1, 2023, amendment clarifies the types of retaliation prohibited under the statute. Contact us regarding these clarifications and what employers need to know.

Increased Protections for Nursing Mothers and Pregnant Employees

Also, effective July 1, 2023, the Minnesota Legislature passed several amendments to the Nursing Mothers and Pregnant Employee laws.

  1. No more 12-month limitation. There is no longer a 12-month limitation for employers to provide reasonable break times each day for lactation. This means that employers must allow nursing mothers and lactating employees breaks each day beyond the 12-month period.
  2. Concurrent with other breaks. Previously, such breaks were required to be taken concurrently with other breaks. However, the new amendment now merely allows for concurrent breaks but does not require the lactation breaks to run concurrently.
  3. Elimination of “unduly disrupts operations.” Employers are no longer allowed to deny nursing mothers and lactating employees a break if the break would ‘unduly disrupt operations.’
  4. Increased protections for pregnancy accommodations without health care provider’s advisement. The new amendment provides increased protections without requiring a licensed health care provider or certified doula for (a) more frequent and longer break periods; (b) a temporary leave of absence; and (c) modification in work schedule or job assignments.
  5. Notice to Employees. Employers are required to inform employees of their rights under this law at the time of hire and when the employee makes an inquiry about or requests parental leave. Notice shall also be provided in the employee handbook, if available, stating the employee rights and remedies. The Department of Labor will make available a suggested text to be included in the notice for employers.

Please contact us to update your employee handbook and answer any questions regarding the new amendment.

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No New Noncompetes

06.16.2023 Written by: Business Law Department

Warning to employers: A notable shift in employment law regarding the regulation of noncompete agreements has been passed by the Minnesota Legislature. Learn more about these changes and how they will affect your business moving forward.

No New Noncompetes: Effective July 1, 2023, any noncompete agreements agreed and entered into on or after July 1, 2023, will be considered void and unenforceable. This new law applies to non-profit organizations as well as for-profit businesses.

What Does it Mean?

  • The ban applies to all employees or independent contractors’ agreements, regardless of the person’s income, from working for another business after termination of employment, including:
    – for a specified period of time,
    – in a specified geographic area, or
    – for another employer in a capacity similar to the employee’s work for employer party to the agreement.
  • Noncompetes during employment are still valid.
  • The ban is not retroactive and will hold any noncompete provisions entered into before July 1, 2023, as valid and enforceable.
  • If the noncompete provision is rendered unenforceable, the remaining contract or agreement will still be valid and enforceable but without an enforceable noncompete provision.

What Can You Still Do?

  • Employers can still use noncompetes:
    – in the sale of a business, or
    – in anticipation of the dissolution of a business.
  • Employers can still use non-competes during the time of the employee’s employment.
  • Employees will still be subject to the following agreements:
    – Nondisclosure,
    – Confidentiality,
    – Trade secret, and
    – Non-solicitation.

Henningson & Snoxell Can Help

Please contact us with any questions or concerns regarding employee protections. We can utilize the tools mentioned above to protect your business and organizations.

In addition, please keep an eye out for more updates regarding the other new employment laws passed this session.

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