Minnesota Adopts A Slew of New Employment Laws

Posted by MHB Admin

For the second straight year, the Minnesota Legislature passed a number of laws that expand the rights of workers around the state. The new laws include brand new programs and standards, as well as amendments to existing laws that have been in place for decades. The following list covers the changes that will go into effect in the coming months and years:

  • Minnesota Human Rights Act Amendments: This new law is the most significant overhaul of Minnesota’s anti-discrimination statutes in a generation. The changes include expansion of the definition of disability to cover more health conditions, recognition of all forms of harassment as unlawful discrimination, elimination of the cap on punitive damages for violations of the Act by private employers, and clarification that a jury can triple the amount of lost wage and emotional distress damages it awards a prevailing plaintiff.
  • Minimum Wage: The legislature eliminated the lower minimum wage for small employers and the exceptions to the minimum wage requirement that previously applied to certain hotel and resort employees and workers under the age of 18. The new law also mandates a higher annual increase of the statewide minimum wage.
  • Earned Sick and Safe Time: Building on the new law created during last year’s session that requires employers to allow workers to earn paid time off for sick and safe time, the legislature added damages and penalties that employees can recover if their employer refuses to let them earn or use that type of leave. 
  • Paid Family and Medical Leave Act: This law amends the Paid Family Leave Act that passed last session. The most significant change affecting workers’ rights is the addition of protections for people who seek to take family or medical leave without accessing the State’s financial benefits. The Paid Family and Medical Leave Act does not go into effect until January 1, 2026.
  • Misclassification: The legislature created a new cause of action for workers who are misclassified as independent contractors. Misclassified workers can now sue for damages and penalties.
  • Pregnancy and Parenting Leave: State law now requires that employees who take pregnancy or parenting leave be allowed to stay on their group health insurance.
  • Salary Transparency: Employers with 30 or more employees must now include the expected salary range and benefits in all job postings.
  • Drug Testing: Employers can now use oral fluid testing in situations where the law permits drug testing of workers.
  • Non-Solicitation Agreements: Businesses can no longer include non-solicitation-of-workers agreements in service contracts. This will address situations like when day care centers prohibit customers from hiring teachers as nannies or babysitters.
  • Rideshare Drivers: The legislature created a new minimum wage requirement for rideshare drivers that will be enforced by the Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry.  

Each of these new laws has its own effective date, meaning that although some of these changes are already the law of the land, most will not apply to workers and employers until July or August, if not later. In the coming weeks, MacDonald Hoague & Bayless will publish additional articles that dive into the details of some of the most significant changes on this list.

The impact of these changes will depend on the facts of each worker’s situation. If you think your rights are being violated in the workplace under any Minnesota or federal law, please contact the Minneapolis Office of MacDonald Hoague & Bayless at 612.349.2720.

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