Minnesota Legislature Passes Transformative New Worker Protections
Earlier this month during a floor debate in the Minnesota House of Representatives, one of the authors of the Omnibus Labor bill said that it “might be the most significant worker-protection bill that we’ve ever passed in the history of the state of Minnesota.” This was not hyperbole. In fact, it is fair to say that when it comes to workers’ rights, the 2023 Legislative Session was the most productive in state history.
The legislature passed new laws that provide a wide range of new or updated employment protections. Each has the potential to dramatically transform the workplace for Minnesota workers. The list of new laws includes:
- A total prohibition on non-compete agreements.
- A new paid family and medical leave program that includes a prohibition on retaliation against employees who take such leave.
- A new earned sick and safe leave program that requires employers to let employees take time off when they are sick, caring for somebody who is sick, or addressing issues related to domestic violence, and prohibits retaliation against employees who take such leave.
- Prohibition of discrimination based on characteristics related to race such as hairstyles.
- Prohibition of franchise agreements that prevent workers at one franchise location from moving to another one.
- Allowing construction workers to hold contractors liable for subcontractor violations of state wage theft laws.
- Prohibition of employer-required meetings related to political or religious matters, and meetings aimed at discouraging union organizing.
- Clearer and more robust rights for nursing mothers, and stronger protections for pregnant women needing workplace accommodations.
- A new minimum wage for rideshare drivers.
- Prohibition on employer inquiries into pay history.
- More robust protections against discrimination based on gender identity.
- Workplace safety protections for workers in meatpacking plants and warehouse distribution centers.
Over the next few weeks, we will post more thorough summaries of some of these laws. In the meantime, MacDonald Hoague & Bayless’ Minneapolis office is ready to help workers with any employment law issues that they’re facing. If you have a potential case related to anything happening to you at work, please call us at 612.349.2720.