City settles first case for worker denied sick time
The City of Minneapolis has settled its first case of retaliation under the sick and safe time ordinance, resulting in an $11,000 settlement for the employee.
A gas station that strongly discouraged its employees from using sick leave – even though it allowed it on paper – triggered a report of violation from an employee who had become ill and unavailable to work. When he requested sick leave he was denied and then banned from the premises and removed from the schedule. He effectively lost his job.
As a low-wage worker, he depends on his current paycheck to pay rent. Following the employer’s actions in this case, he was evicted from his apartment and now lives with family members. He did not want to return to this employer.
In just over three months from the date the employee filed the complaint, the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights reached a settlement agreement for $11,000 in lost wages for him and will monitor compliance going forward with the gas station. Civil Rights staff will also conduct in-person trainings there separately for employees and management.
The supervisor who denied him the sick time is no longer with the company.
People who work in Minneapolis whose employers don’t provide the sick and safe time required by the new law can call 311 or visit www.minneapolismn.gov/sicktimeinfo to ask a question or file a complaint with the Labor Standards Enforcement Division of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights.
For healthy workers, healthy businesses and healthy communities, the new ordinance protecting time off for people who get sick and work in Minneapolis took effect July 1. Employers with six or more workers are required to provide time off at a minimum threshold of at least one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. Employers with five or fewer workers must also provide sick time, but it may be unpaid. The goal of the ordinance is to protect public health and prevent workers from being penalized because of illness or a need to care for a sick loved one.
More information about the ordinance is at www.minneapolismn.gov/sicktimeinfo.
Note: In a lawsuit brought against the City of Minneapolis in the case of Minnesota Chamber of Commerce et al v. City of Minneapolis, Court File No. 27-cv-16-15051, the Hennepin County District Court issued a temporary injunction prohibiting the City of Minneapolis from enforcing the Sick and Safe Time Ordinance against any “employer resident outside the geographic boundaries of the City.” The case is still being litigated in district court. This temporary injunction order is still in place.
City’s minimum wage ordinance in effect
In other worker protections, the City’s new municipal minimum wage ordinance has taken effect with the first stage of its tiered rollout. For this first phase, large businesses with more than 100 employees are required to pay workers at least $10 an hour. More information about the ordinance is at minimumwage.minneapolismn.gov.
Published Jan 12, 2018