Employment disputes can pop up around the holidays

The holiday season often presents unfortunate opportunities for legal problems for businesses because of an increase in business demand, more business hours, temporary workers and the need to meet consumer demands. Any legal shortcuts may pose legal problems that last well after the new year.

For retailers, restaurants and other businesses, more employees and hours are needed for the increased seasonal demand. However, employers must also comply with federal and Minnesota wage and overtime requirements and make sure that workers are properly paid for all hours worked and that wages and hours are properly documented. This includes preparation and meeting times. Child labor laws are still in effect.

Legal issues are often an uninvited guest at social functions and other events hosted by employers. Alcohol can fuel inappropriate comments and activities. Sexual harassment is also a potential problem.

Even in the absence of illegal and inappropriate conduct, workers may allege that an employer or co-worker violated federal or state law. Inadequate training and precautions can also provide the atmosphere where incorrect assumptions are made.

Minnesota businesses can take measures to help avoid lawsuits during the holiday season and throughout the year. Proper training, adequate records, fair and consistent supervisory practices and a well-drafted employee handbook can help employers prevent legal proceedings or help in their defense if a lawsuit or prosecution is filed.

At our law firm, we attempt to help clients who are facing all types of federal and state commissions and boards. Our firm advocates for businesses in court at both the federal and state levels. Please visit our Employment and Labor Law webpage for more information about our firm.

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