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Ban on Asking Applicants and Employees about Pay History

12.18.2023 Written by: Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd.

Effective January 1, 2024, all employers in Minnesota will be prohibited from asking job applicants, including contractors and current employees seeking internal promotions or transfers, about their pay history. Employers will need to base a salary offer on market conditions and the applicant’s skills, education, and other qualifications. However, job applicants may voluntarily disclose their pay history with a prospective employer. Employers should review applicant materials and communicate to applicants what information will be used in determining the salary offer.

Contact us to learn how to prepare for this ban. We are here to help protect you and your business.

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12.13.2023 Written by: Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd.

Effective January 1, 2024, Minnesota’s Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) law will require employers with one or more employees to provide paid leave to all employees who work at least eighty (80) hours a year in the state of Minnesota to be used for one of the many permitted purposes specified in the statute.

What responsibilities do employers have?

  • Employers have the option to either allow employees to accrue ESST at a rate of one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked, up to at least 48 hours in a year (the “accrual method”) or use the “frontloading method” whereby the employer ensures that each employee has the requisite amount of ESST frontloaded by January 1, 2024.
  • Include the total number of ESST hours accrued and available for use; and the total number of ESST hours used on the employee’s earning statements at the end of each pay period.
  • Provide notice informing the employees about ESST.
  • Include an ESST notice in any employee handbook.

Under the Accrual Method, employers must allow employees to carry over accrued but unused ESST but may cap the total amount of accrued ESST at 80 hours.

Under the Frontload Method, an employer must frontload 48 or 80 hours depending upon whether they pay out unused ESST at the end of the year.

Policies that already provide paid time off will comply with the ESST law as long as they meet or exceed all necessary criteria and do not include conflicting provisions. It is not mandatory for the paid time off policy or plan to be explicitly labeled as ESST to fulfill the law’s requirements. However, employers may find it beneficial to incorporate references to ESST usage within their policy.

Please note, businesses in Bloomington, Duluth, Minneapolis, and St. Paul are already subject to sick and safe time ordinances. On January 1, 2024, employers will have to follow that which is most generous as it applies to their employees.

Contact us regarding implementation of the ESST law as well as necessary reviews and updates to employee handbooks. We are here to help protect you and your business.

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Legalized Marijuana in the Workplace: What Do Employers Need to Know?

07.06.2023 Written by: Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd.

Legalized Marijuana in the Workplace: What Do Employers Need to Know?

Minnesota has become the 23rd State to legalize recreational marijuana, which goes into effect on August 1, 2023. With this change, employers have a few important steps to take to ensure safety in the workplace for their employees and their business. Here is what employers should know:

  • Recreational marijuana is still illegal until August 1, 2023; therefore, any use or possession can still be subject to disciplinary action.
  • After August 1, employers have some restrictions for prohibiting the use or possession of cannabis at work and when they can test for cannabis.

Prohibition on Use or Possession at Work

An employer cannot regulate an employee’s use and possession of recreational marijuana off work premises and during nonworking hours.

Employers can, however, regulate an employee’s use and possession during working hours, on work premises, or while operating an employer’s vehicle, machinery, or equipment.

Additionally, employers have no duty to permit or accommodate the use, possession, impairment, sale, or transfer of cannabis product (etc.) while an employee is working, on work premises, or operating an employer’s vehicle, machinery, or equipment.

Disciplinary Action Allowed

Employers may discipline, discharge, or take other adverse action against an employee for such use if:

  • As a result of consumption, the employee does not possess the clearness of intellect and control of self that the employee otherwise would have;
  • Cannabis testing verifies the presence of cannabis product (etc.) following a confirmatory test;
  • As provided in the employer’s written work rules for cannabis products (etc.), provided the rules are in writing and in a written policy containing the minimum information; or
  • As otherwise authorized or required under state or federal law, or if failure to do so would cause an employer to lose a monetary or licensing-related benefit under federal law or regulations.

Employers may not discipline, discharge, discriminate against, or request rehabilitation of an employee:

  • Based on a positive result that has not been verified by a confirmatory test.
  • Based on a positive result from a confirmatory cannabis test unless:
    • Employer has first given the employee an opportunity to participate in a counseling or rehabilitation program; and
    • The employee either refused to participate or has failed to successfully complete the program (via withdrawal from program before completion or by positive confirmatory test after completion of program).

Employers may temporarily suspend or transfer an employee to another position (at the same rate of pay) pending the outcome of the confirmatory test, as long as the employer believes it is to be reasonably necessary to protect the health or safety of the employee, co-employees, or the public.

Cannabis Testing for Employees

An employer can test for cannabis when:

  • The employee works in a “safety-sensitive position.” Such positions are subject to Random Testing.
  • The employer has a reasonable suspicion that the employee:
  • Is under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
  • Has violated the employer’s written work rules prohibiting such use;
  • Sustained a personal injury or has caused another employee to sustain a personal injury; or
  • Caused a work-related accident or was operating or helping to operate machinery, equipment or vehicles involved in a work-related accident.
  • The employee has been referred by employer for substance use disorder treatment or evaluation.

An employer cannot test for cannabis on an arbitrary or capricious basis. In addition, employees have the right to request and receive a copy of the cannabis testing results from the employer.

What You Need to Do

  1. Update written drug and alcohol policies (usage and testing) to explicitly include cannabis language. This statute sets forth specific requirements for your written policy in order that it be compliant. Please contact our offices to ensure your policy reflects such language (some of which includes but is not limited to listing the employees or job applicants subject to testing under the policy, etc.)
  2. Prepare a form detailing the employer’s drug, alcohol, and cannabis testing policy and present it to the employees.

Please contact us before August 1, 2023, to update your drug and alcohol policies to include the necessary cannabis usage and testing language.

We will keep you informed as the Office of Cannabis Management continues to provide additional guidelines over the next year.

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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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How the FFCRA Affects Businesses with Less than 50 Employees

03.31.2020 Written by: Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd.

How the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Affects Businesses with Less than 50 Employees

[Update to this post here – 4/3/2020]

More COVID-19 Resources

Are you a business owner with fewer than 50 employees (for a profit, nonprofit or religious organization)? Are you confused about the specific criteria required to claim an exemption to the expanded leave provisions of the Family’s First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)? If so, you’re not alone. Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor provided much-needed information and guidance.


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Family and Medical Leave Expansion under the FFCR Act

03.27.2020 Written by: Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd.

The new Families First Coronavirus Response (FFCR) Act was signed into law last week, and business owners are wondering how it affects them. How does the new emergency expanion of Family and Medical Leave under this law affect you? We’ve put together an infographic to help you navigate the information.

Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion under the FFCR Act

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Please don’t pay anyone to renew your MN Entity Status!

12.18.2019 Written by: Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd.


Over the past week, I’ve responded to several clients’ emails and phone calls regarding an official-looking form they received in the mail. This form appeared to be a notice for renewing their Minnesota entity status and asked for a payment of $95.00 to be mailed in along with the filled out form.


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