Dee DePass has been a Star Tribune business reporter since 1993, covering small business, financial institutions, manufacturing and, most recently, the economy. Originally from New York, Dee came to Minnesota after earning her master's in journalism at the University of Maryland and her undergraduate degree at Vassar College.

State tweet warns workers to know their rights during the holidays

Posted by: Dee DePass under Workplace issues Updated: December 23, 2011 - 2:32 PM

Did you know state law requires your employer to let you use the bathroom at least once every four hours?

It's such an important point that the Minnesota Department of Labor (DLI) and Industry sent out a mass tweet this week warning worker bees to know their rights during the bustling holiday season that often requires long hours. The message hits as shoppers head into the last shopping days before Christmas.

The Tweet sent readers to http://go.usa.gov/NVG, which links to a site that answers "the most frequently asked questions" about employee rights. It's an interesting read. In honor of the 12 days of Christmas, here's a gander at the top 12 rights of workers:
 
1. You must receive at least the minimum wage per hour for all hours your employer requires you to work, including preparation time, on-the-job training, opening and closing times, and required meetings. If your employer is not paying the minimum wage or overtime, you can file a claim with the Department of Labor and Industry, Labor Standards unit.
 

2. Generally, your employer may not deduct from your wages for breakages, cash shortages, tools or uniforms. For exceptions to this rule see Minnesota Statutes 181.79 and 177.24, subdivisions 4 and 5).
 

3. Each time you are paid, you must receive a statement listing all deductions, such as taxes, from your earnings.
 

4. Keep accurate records of the hours you worked. If there's a difference between your record and the employer's, review your records together.
 

5. Rest breaks are not required; however, you must be allowed time to use the nearest restroom once every four consecutive hours worked.
 

6. If you work eight or more consecutive hours, you must be allowed sufficient time to eat a meal.
 

7. Your employer must pay one-and-one-half times your regular rate of pay for overtime hours worked. Review the overtime information to learn if your employer is covered by state or federal law.
 

8. Minors are prohibited from working certain jobs and certain hours. See Minnesota Statutes 181.04, and Minnesota Rules 5200.0910 and 5200.0920.
 

9. You have the right to a safe workplace. If you believe safety or health hazards exist at work, contact Minnesota OSHA (651) 284-5050 or 1-877-470-OSHA (1-877-470-6742).
 

10. If you are injured on the job, immediately inform your employer. The employer has an obligation to provide you with workers' compensation benefits. Call (651) 284-5005 or 1-800-DIAL-DLI (1-800-342-5354) for more information.
 

11. Your employer must provide a work environment free from racial, sexual and religious harassment. Report violations to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights by calling (651) 296-5663.
 

12. If your employment ends or your work hours are reduced, you may apply for unemployment benefits online or at (651) 296-3644 (Twin Cities), or at 1-877-898-9090 (Greater Minnesota). You may choose English, Hmong, Somali or Spanish.
 

 

 

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