Governor Walz’s Recent COVID-19 Order Gives Employees Important Rights

On May 13, 2020, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued Executive Order 20-54, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Among other things, the Governor’s executive order provides rights to Minnesota employees that all workers should be aware of.

First, the executive order prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against employees who ask their employers questions or expresses concerns about COVID-19 (the Coronavirus), or their health and safety regarding the virus outbreak.

Second, the executive order generally prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against employees who wear gloves, cloth, eye protection, or other protective gear in the course of their work.

Third, the executive order gives employees the right to refuse to work under conditions that they, in good faith, reasonably believe pose an imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm.

Fourth, the executive order gives employees the right to request the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (“DLI”) conduct an inspection of their workplace if they suspect a COVID-19 threat to health and/or safety is present.

Lastly, the executive order gives employees the right to seek reasonable accommodations related to COVID-19, including the ability to work from home, if possible.

All of these protections contain important caveats, so if you have questions about Executive Order 20-54, or COVID-19 at work, you should contact an experienced employment lawyer.

If you are an employee who has experienced difficult circumstances with your employer related to COVID-19, we are here to help. Please contact Teske, Katz, Kitzer, and Rochel, PLLP. We advocate on behalf of employees facing discrimination, retaliation, and whistleblower related issues in the workplace.

Favorable Settlement Changes City of Minneapolis Policies for Disabled Workers

On December 22, 2017, Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel finalized a settlement agreement in Stewart, et al. v. The City of Minneapolis, an employment discrimination class action lawsuit. The agreement included significant policy changes that benefit City of Minneapolis employees who are or become disabled.

Laurence Stewart, the named plaintiff, is a former employee of Minneapolis in its Public Works Department. Stewart sought classwide relief for himself and all other similar employees. The Complaint alleged that the City’s return to work policy violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) because it failed to provide reasonable accommodation for disabled workers.

The settlement agreement provides that the City will now conduct multiple assessments for reasonable accommodations for all employees who are eligible for its Return to Work Job Bank.

A full press release with details of the policy changes and copy of the Amended Complaint are available here:

Here is a previous post regarding the Stewart v. City of Minneapolis litigation.

Mr. Stewart is represented by Brian Rochel and Marisa Katz of Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel, PLLP. Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel is an employment and class action law firm representing employees in Minnesota and across the country.

For more information, or if you have questions about this lawsuit, contact Brian Rochel at (612) 746-1558 or at rochel@tkkrlaw.com.

Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel Brings Class Action Employment Lawsuit against City of Minneapolis

On January 6, 2017, Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel initiated Stewart, et al. v. The City of Minneapolis, a class action employment lawsuit. The suit is brought in Minnesota District Court, Fourth District–Hennepin County.

Laurence Stewart, the named plaintiff, is a former employee of Minneapolis in its Public Works Department. Stewart seeks classwide relief for himself and all other similar employees. The Complaint alleges that the City’s return to work policy violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) because it fails to provide reasonable accommodation for disabled workers.

Mr. Stewart is represented by Brian Rochel, Marisa Katz and Douglas Micko, of Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel, PLLP. Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel is a class action and employment law firm with decades of experience around the country.

For more information, or if you have been terminated by the City of Minneapolis and have questions about this lawsuit, contact Brian Rochel here or via email at rochel@tkkrlaw.com.

A full press release and copy of the Complaint that has been served are available here:

Press Release

Stewart v. Minneapolis Complaint

Phillip Kitzer, Brian Rochel, and Doug Micko Present on Intersection of Disability, FMLA, and Workers’ Compensation Retaliation Laws

On October 26, 2015, Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel partners Phillip Kitzer and Brian Rochel presented a continuing legal education (CLE) seminar on the intersection between disability discrimination laws under the Minnesota Human Rights Act (“MHRA”) and the American’s With Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), and Workers’ Compensation retaliation (“WCA”).  The presentation was moderated by Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel partner Doug Micko, and addressed the complicated legal considerations faced by both employers and employees when an employee has a workplace injury or disability.  The  presentation was made as part of Minnesota CLE’s Employment Law Webcast Series.

To learn more about the disability discrimination, your rights under the FMLA, or your rights under workers’ compensation retaliation, please contact Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel today.

Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel Defeats Pretrial Motion to Dismiss, Court Limits Karst Ruling

In Jason Lindner v. Donatelli Bros. of White Bear Lake d/b/a Donatelli’s, the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota denied Defendant’s motion to dismiss Plaintiff Lindner’s retaliation claim. In an important opinion of first impression, the court held that Karst v. F.C. Hayer Co, 447 N.W.2d 180 (Minn. 1989), which bars discrimination claims in certain cases, does not apply to retaliation or reprisal claims.  The court noted that “a reprisal claim is fundamentally different [than a disability claim] – such a claim is predicated not on an employer’s injury (or disability), but rather on his or her conduct.” Lindner’s claims will now proceed to trial before a federal jury.

Phillip Kitzer and Brian Rochel represent Plaintiff Jason Lindner in the employment retaliation and discrimination lawsuit.

Doug Micko Presents on Pregnancy and Pay Discrimination

At today’s 40th Annual Labor & Employment Law Institute, Doug Micko presented on a continuing education panel along with EEOC Commissioner Jenny R. Yang and other noted attorneys. The panel discussed cutting-edge issues involving pay and pregnancy discrimination. The discussion was prompted by this year marking both the 50th Anniversary of the Equal Pay Act (EPA) and the 35th Anniversary of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Doug offered his insights on current developments in both areas, and led a discussion on the interaction between the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).