Category: Attorney News

Minnesota Supreme Court Rules on Workplace Handbook Policies

April 16, 2021  |  Scott M. Lepak

The Minnesota Supreme Court recently announced two important holdings in Hall v. City of Plainview regarding workplace handbook policies. First, the Court determined that general disclaimers in employee handbooks (generally at the front of personnel handbooks or manuals) do not automatically apply to all provisions within the handbook, including compensation and severance policies. The second ruling was that the state law providing a penalty for failure to pay wages promptly did not create an automatic right to paid time off (PTO) on its own absent a binding contract present. Read on as we discuss the specifics of the Minnesota Supreme Court rulings on workplace handbook policies. Background Facts In 2017, the City of Plainview terminated an employee who had accrued unused PTO throughout 30 years of work. When the employee was terminated, the City refused to pay him the accrued PTO, citing the employee handbook. The City claimed he had not given “sufficient notice” per a policy in their handbook. This employment handbook also contained a disclaimer stating that the provisions within it “should not be construed as contract terms” and that it was “not intended to create an express or implied contract of employment between the City of Plainview and an employee.” The employee sued the City for breach of contract, stating…

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Remote Notarization: What You Need to Know

February 19, 2021  |  Carole Clark Isakson

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted more states, including Minnesota, to pass legislation permitting online notarization services for legal documents that require a notary to be present to witness the signing. The practice is popular among notaries and signers alike. However, it raises questions about who offers such services and what technology is involved. Barna, Guzy & Steffen now offers these services to our clients. Read our blog as we discuss what you need to know about remote notarization. What is remote notarization? Remote notarization, also known as webcam notarization or virtual notarization, is the process of appearing before a notary at the time of the signing via the Internet instead of making a physical appearance. Remote notarization is not the same thing as electronic notarization or eNotarization. This involves documents that are notarized in electronic form but still require the signer to be physically present before a notary. What documents can be notarized remotely? Virtually all documents that transfer an interest in real estate require that the signer’s signature be notarized. Affidavits and court documents generally require this process as well as estate planning documents. This can mean making a special trip to an office to find a notary – and how to safely handle this in current times when in person meetings…

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Scott Lepak Named to the Public Employment Relations Board

November 19, 2020  |  Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd.

Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd. is pleased to announce that Governor Walz has appointed shareholder Scott Lepak to serve on the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB). Scott will serve as the alternate public employer’s representative. The Board is the body charged with addressing unfair labor practice charges under the public sector labor relations law. This Board was originally active from 1971 to 1991 and was recreated in 2014.  Scott is a shareholder in our labor and employment section. He has been working in this area for well over 30 years. Scott noted that he appeared before this Board as an advocate during its original mission. He is delighted to now serve in this new capacity. He also pointed out, in response to numerous questions from public employer clients, that he will continue to represent public sector employer and municipal clients.  “This is very much a less than part time gig,” Scott said. “We needed another representative to get cases processed when the regular public sector board member had a conflict or was unavailable. I am excited to join the well-regarded members of this Board when needed as an alternate.”  Congratulations, Scott, on your appointment to the Minnesota Public Employment Relations Board. Scott M. Lepak has represented employers on labor and employment matters in…

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