Employment Law Update - Minnesota and Federal

Conferences & Events
HR Compliance
Harassment Prevention
Workplace Violence
Minnetonka, MN
March 14 8:00am - 4:15pm


Employment Law Update - Minnesota and Federal
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    Almost every decision made as an HR professional is fraught with legal landmines that can bring frustration, fear, and lawsuits. Join our legal experts as they untangle misconceptions and eliminate confusion. At MRA's annual Employment Law Update you will walk away with an understanding of the latest employment-related legal developments and how to deal with them effectively.

  • Agenda


    Schedule Thursday, March 14, 2019
    7:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Registration/Continental Breakfast
    8:00 a.m. – 8:15 a.m. Welcoming Remarks
    8:15 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. Session 1: How to Navigate FMLA, ADA, and WC
    9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Session 2: Legal Implications for a Drug Free Workplace
    10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Session 3: Challenges and Solutions for Employers in this New Era of Workplace Harassment: #MeToo or #NotUs?
    11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. Lunch
    12:45 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Session 4: The Legal Landscape: Navigating the Hiring Process
    2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Session 5: Immigration Alerts – What Every Employer Should Know
    3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. Session 6: Policies and Practices to Reduce the Risk of EEOC Claims


  • Sessions


    Thursday, March 14, 2019 (8:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.)

    8:15 to 9:15 a.m.
    Session 1: How to Navigate FMLA, ADA, and WC
    Kurt Erickson, Littler Mendelson P.C.

    This session will describe recent developments in Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") law and disability law. It will then describe how the FMLA, the disability discrimination laws, and Minnesota’s Workers’ Compensation Act can apply to an employee at the same time, and how each of these laws may apply to an employee’s situation to the exclusion of the other laws.

    9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
    Session 2: Legal Implications for a Drug Free Workplace
    V. John Ella, Trapanier MacGillis Battina

    The national opioid crisis and legalized marijuana, along with complicated leave requirements and testing laws, means that maintaining a drug-free workplace is more complicated than ever. Minnesota has a uniquely complicated statute governing testing of employees and job applicants for drugs or alcohol -- the Drug and Alcohol Testing the Workplace Act or "DATWA." This session will explain how to comply with DATWA and what mistakes to avoid. It will also cover mandatory requirements under Federal law for testing of commercial drivers and other occupations. We will also discuss leave requirements under the ADA and FMLA for employees struggling with addiction.

    10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
    Session 3: Challenges and Solutions for Employers in this New Era of Workplace Harassment: #MeToo or #NotUs?
    Debra Weiss, Brad Lindeman, and Molly Ryan, Meagher & Geer, P.L.L.P.

    Learning objectives:

    • Facilitate a candid, interactive discussion about sexual harassment following the screening of a video with harassment content that is meant to generate discussion and reaction;
    • Provide a brief overview of the current state of sexual harassment case law in Minnesota since the onset of the MeToo movement and how it has changed, if at all; and
    • Provide clear guidance on how employers can improve their employee harassment policies and update and improve their harassment training sessions.

    12:45 to 1:45 p.m.
    Session 4: The Legal Landscape: Navigating the Hiring Process
    Andrew E. Tanick and Brian A. Moen, Ogletree Deakins

    The hiring process continues to get more and more complicated for employers. From ban-the-box laws to salary history bans and other state and local nuances, the maze of employment laws grows every year. This presentation will help you navigate the hiring process – from posting jobs to offering someone a position, and legal implications to think of along the way.

    • Understand the laws to know and consider during the hiring process;
    • Learn proper and improper questions to ask during the interview process;
    • Understand the importance of having good job descriptions.

    2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
    Session 5: Immigration Alerts – What Every Employer Should Know
    Debra Schneider and Jennifer Bouta-Mojica, Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.

    The following will be covered in this session:

    • Understanding the alphabet soup of nonimmigrant visa categories: Common and not-so-common options to sponsor foreign national workers;
    • I-9 and compliance considerations and best practices;
    • Immigration considerations regarding the use of contract employees and placement of employees at third party worksites;
    • USCIS’ Administrative Site Visit and Verification Program: What to expect and how to prepare for a site visit from a Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) Officer.

    3:15 to 4:15 p.m.
    Session 6: Policies and Practices to Reduce the Risk of EEOC Claims
    Mark A. Pihart, Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.

    This session will focus on best practices to reduce the risk of an EEOC claim. Included within this session will be a discussion and review of the content within certain workplace policies, such as: Equal Employment Opportunity, Respectful Workplace, Violence in the Workplace, Non-Retaliation and Reasonable Accommodation. This session will also address best practices for hiring, managing performance, discipline and termination.

  • Speakers


    Kurt Erickson

    Kurt J. Erickson has significant experience in representing public and private employers in labor and employment matters. He appears regularly before state and federal courts, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, as well as proceedings before other state administrative tribunals. Kurt routinely defends clients in litigation matters, including class action litigation, involving discrimination and harassment, accommodation issues, whistleblowing and retaliation, breach of contract, unfair labor practices, and trade secret and non-compete issues. In addition, he provides advice and counsel to clients on these matters and other employment law issues such as drafting of employee handbooks, policies and procedures and the hiring, performance management and termination of employees.

    John Ella

    V. John Ella is a shareholder at Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A. He is certified as an employment law specialist by the Minnesota State Bar Association. He has litigated dozens of lawsuits involving DATWA and has learned the many mistakes that employers can make in the area of drug and alcohol testing. He has written about drug testing for publications such as the Star Tribune, Bench & Bar, and the Minnesota Lawyer. He has presented on the topic of drug and alcohol testing at the Upper Midwest Employment Institute, Minnesota CLE, Minnesota SHRM’s state conference, and the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC).

    Debra Weiss

    For the past two decades, Debra Weiss has focused her practice in the area of employment litigation and counseling, where she regularly assists employers with all aspects of employment matters. She is licensed to practice law in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and North Dakota. She helps employers navigate through the complicated and often-technical myriad of state, federal and local statutes and laws impacting employment decisions from the hiring process, to performance evaluations, discipline, and separation, as well as litigation arising from all of those stages. Debra understands that business decisions are not always made in the courtroom and works diligently to design practical solutions that balance a company’s legal compliance issues with its business objectives and goals in an evenhanded and creative manner. She also counsels companies and individuals on noncompete, non-solicitation, and trade secret matters. She is a frequent speaker on employment-related topics and has authored several articles that have been published in industry periodicals.

    Brad Lindeman

    Brad Lindeman’s practice focuses on defending commercial litigation claims, including employment discrimination claims, contractual disputes, and product liability claims. His work includes the defense of single plaintiff claims, complex multi-plaintiff claims, and class-based allegations. Brad has been recognized in the list of Minnesota Rising Stars™ or Super Lawyers® each year since 2001. He is also one of the firm’s leaders, serving as a member of its management committee.

    Molly Ryan

    Molly Ryan is a member of the Meagher & Geer’s commercial litigation and employment law groups. She has been designated as a Board Certified Labor and Employment Law Specialist by the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA), and has been identified as a Rising Star by Minnesota Super Lawyers magazine since 2007. "I enjoy my practice of law because it offers the opportunity to analyze and resolve complex and often unique legal issues – while working with real people across all spectrums of the business world. I like to learn, to teach, to craft and present legal arguments, and to achieve the best possible results for my clients based on the facts presented."

    Andy Tanick

    Andy Tanick has over 25 years of experience defending employment claims and helping employers develop effective policies and avoid litigation. He advises businesses of all sizes on issues such as noncompete agreements, severance negotiations, and employment policies and practices, and has successfully defended cases throughout the country in areas such as discrimination, retaliation and harassment. Andy’s litigation practice also includes his defense of disability access lawsuits under Title III of the ADA and the Minnesota Human Rights Act, ranging from defending owners of restaurants and office buildings in increasingly common "drive-by" litigation to service animal litigation. Prior to joining the firm, Andy was the Managing Partner of the Minneapolis office of Ford Harrison and prior to that he was the Chair of the Labor & Employment Practice Group at the firm of Rider Bennett LLP. He is a frequent lecturer at employment law seminars and has written several employment law articles. During law school, Andy was a Note and Comment Editor, and a published author, on the Minnesota Law Review, and performed at Carnegie Hall in college as a member of the University of Minnesota Wind Ensemble.

    Brian Moen

    Brian A. Moen graduated, summa cum laude, from Mitchell Hamline School of Law, where he was awarded the Minnesota State Bar Association Law Student Excellence in Labor Law Award and was a staff member of the Intellectual Property Law Review. Before going to law school, Brian earned his Master’s Degree in Human Resources and Industrial Relations from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, and subsequently spent over six years as a Human Resources professional in both Fortune 500 and public sector environments. As an HR professional, Brian gained broad exposure to many employment topics ranging from EEOC charges, reductions in force, collective bargaining and labor disputes to wage and hour, employee relations, and performance management issues. Brian also has significant experience in providing leadership training on topics including conducting effective workplace investigations, documentation, and legal compliance. Brian’s HR experiences fueled his aspiration to pursue a career in labor and employment, where he currently counsels and represents employers in all facets of employment-related matters.

    Debra Schneider

    Debra Schneider provides advice on complex immigration matters to help employers and employees in their shared quest for work authorization and a long term future in the United States. Debra has spent her legal career dedicated to practicing immigration law. For over 15 years, she has provided clear and well-researched advice to diverse businesses that has included large scale multi-national corporations, start-up companies, individual entrepreneurs, foreign investors, world-class scientists, professors, business executives, physicians and professional athletes and artists, among many others. She assists with business, family, naturalization and humanitarian immigration matters, as well immigration compliance, policy and global mobility. Debra has a thorough knowledge of the complex United States immigration system and enjoys helping her clients navigate these complexities to achieve their immigration goals. Whether she's securing lawful permanent residence, negotiating difficult entry issues, or advising on immigration consequences of criminal convictions, Debra offers compassion with her counsel. With Debra, clients know they have entered a true legal partnership as they work together to strengthen businesses, advance careers, improve lives or keep families together.

    Jennifer Bouta-Mojica

    Jennifer Bouta-Mojica advises multinational, regional and local clients on diverse employment-based immigration matters, closely partnering with employers and employees to navigate the ever-changing immigration landscape. Jenny has extensive experience counseling clients on the range of temporary and permanent employment-based immigration options, collaborating with clients to develop comprehensive and creative immigration strategies, policies and systems, and advising clients on immigration compliance questions. Jenny’s practice has afforded her the opportunity to partner with clients in a broad range of industries, including information technology, medical device development and manufacturing, consumer retail and ecommerce, fitness and sports, healthcare, engineering and television, among others. Jenny has worked in the field of employment-based immigration for more than 15 years. Prior to law school, she worked as an immigration paralegal at a large corporate immigration firm in San Francisco, California. She has been a licensed attorney, practicing almost exclusively in employment-based immigration law, since 2006. She regularly presents at local and regional immigration conferences and is an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law where she co-teaches immigration law.

    Mark Pihart

    Mark A. Pihart is a shareholder practicing in the areas of Employment Counseling and Employment Litigation, and is the co-chair of the Employment Law group. Mark advises and represents a variety of clients on matters regarding employment discrimination, employment laws and regulations. He has extensive experience in representing and counseling clients on a wide range of employment related issues, including the hiring process, employment agreements, discrimination issues, leave of absence issues, wage and hour issues, non-competition covenants, trade secret issues, use of social media in the workplace, breach of contract claims and the termination process, including unemployment claims and compliance with state and federal employment laws. Mark frequently trains Human Resources professionals, managers and employees around the country on a host of employment-related topics.

  • Register



    Earlybird Member Price: $199
    Earlybird Member Discount Deadline: Thursday, February 28, 2019

    After February 28, 2019:
    Member Price: $225
    Nonmember Price: $275

    Cancellation and Refund Policy:
    Attendee substitutions may be made at any time and are encouraged when the original registrant cannot attend. If you must cancel or reschedule, please notify us at least three (3) business days prior to the program to receive a full refund of the program price. Cancellations or date changes made less than 3 business days prior to the program will incur the full registration cost.

  • Sponsorship


    Sponsoring MRA events is a tremendous opportunity to bring your message of business value to our growing membership of organizations HR professionals and business leaders. Our members represent all industries including manufacturing, service, distribution, finance and health care! 80% of event attendees are new at each event offering you the opportunity to network with new contacts. We are very excited about the event this year and hope you can join us!

    Note: MRA is a nonprofit, 501©(3) tax-exempt organization. All sponsorship donations for events are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

    For more information on sponsorship and exhibit booths, call Angela Fischer at 262.696.3418 or angela.fischer@mranet.org. Click here to secure your spot.

    Signature Sponsors:

  • Facility


    Minneapolis Marriott Southwest
    5801 Opus Parkway
    Minnetonka, MN 55343

  • Accommodations and Special Requests

    Accommodations and Special Requests

    Please contact us at 800.488.4845 or registrations@mranet.org in advance for any accommodations, special requests, or dietary needs. Nursing mothers, please ask the MRA representative at the front desk or the program instructor to show you our private area. Food and beverages provided at conferences, programs, and Roundtables will vary. If you have any special dietary needs (gluten-free, vegetarian, allergies, etc.), please contact the MRA location in advance, so we can provide an appropriate meal.

Thank You to our Sponsors!

Signature Sponsors:


MN, Minnetonka - Minneapolis Marriott Southwest
5801 Opus Parkway
Minnetonka MN, 55343

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