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Did You Know?

BOP NEWSLETTER • August 2023

BEA Illustrations-Did You Know

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz Signed Legislation Strengthening Current Protections for Employee Wage Disclosure?

Back in May, the Governor signed into law omnibus legislation that includes an amendment to Minnesota’s current labor law, which protects an employee’s right to discuss their own wages with other employees. The effective date of this amendment was July 1, 2023.

The new language states:
“An employer shall not discharge, discipline, penalize, interfere with, threaten, restrain, coerce, or otherwise retaliate or discriminate against an employee for asserting rights or remedies under this section.”

Minnesota Law Now Prohibits Forced Attendance at Employer-Sponsored Meetings Concerning Religious or Political Matters?

Back in May, Governor Tim Walz signed into law legislation that prohibits employers from taking or threatening to take any adverse employment action against employees who decline to attend employer-sponsored meetings concerning religious or political matters. Employees may bring a civil action within ninety days of the date of an alleged violation.

Oregon and California Courts Have Recently Ruled Against Time Clocking Rounding Practices?

Oregon: A recent federal case, Eisele v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., held that rounding is prohibited in Oregon. In the case, Home Depot used a time-keeping software system to log and keep track of employees’ time worked, and then rounded the time to the nearest 15-minute increment when paying out wages. In August of 2020, the plaintiff filed a class action complaint against Home Depot alleging that this rounding practice resulted in a violation of ORS 652.120 and 652.140, which both require that employers pay employees all wages earned and due.

The federal judge ruled that, although Oregon statutes are silent with respect to rounding (they neither allow nor prohibit it explicitly), the Oregon statutes require payment of wages for “all hours worked,” which is in direct conflict with rounding principles (since sometimes employees would not be paid for all hours worked when the time was rounded down), particularly where, as was the case in this matter, the employer tracked every single minute worked prior to the rounding.

California: In Woodworth v. Loma Linda Univ. Med. Ctr., a class action lawsuit, the employer had a neutral rounding policy that rounded time punches to the nearest tenth of an hour. While 51.4% of employees were paid for more time than they were on the clock, 47.4% were paid for less, and the remaining 1.1% were unaffected. Thus, the medical center’s expert concluded that the policy was permissible because there was no systematic advantage to either the medical center or the employees based on the neutral timecard rounding practice.

But the court rejected this policy, pointing to another recent ruling, which held that when an employer “can capture and has captured the exact amount of time an employee has worked during a shift, the employer must pay the employee for ‘all the time’ worked.”