Divorce and Pets: What Happens to Fido?

Effective January 1, 2018, Illinois joined a growing number of states that take a new approach when it comes to pets in divorce. Under the new law in Illinois, during the course of a divorce judges will take into consideration the “well-being” of the pet. In states with similar statutes, courts have looked at factors such as who was responsible for feeding the pet, who took the pet to their grooming appointments, and who walked the pet when making a determination on who should keep the pet.

What does that mean for people contemplating or going through divorce in Minnesota? As of right now, nothing. Minnesota currently takes the “traditional” approach when it comes to pets in divorce; that is that animals are considered property and treated as such. If a divorce case goes to trial before a judge and there is a dispute as to who owns the pet, then the judge will divide the pet in the same way as property. First there will be a determination as to if the pet is marital or non-marital property. If the pet was purchased during the marriage, with joint assets, then it is marital. If one party brought the pet into the marriage, or if it was bought using separate funds during the marriage, then that party may have a non-marital claim to the pet provided that he or she can provide the necessary documentation to back up his or her claim.

When it comes to an actual outcome, if one party is able to prove a non-marital claim to the pet then the court would most likely award the pet to that party. If the pet is deemed to be marital property, then the court will end up awarding the pet to one party as part of the division of the marital assets.

Now, it is important to note that while Minnesota may not be as progressive as other states when it comes to recognizing that pets are essentially family members for many of us, Minnesota is not totally without a heart. In cases where there are children involved, many times judges will take into account the relationship between the children and the pet when deciding who to award the pet to. Very often, the party that ends up having more time with the children will end up being awarded the pet as well.

Just because the law doesn’t recognize the true importance of your pet, that doesn’t mean that your pet has to be treated as property during the divorce. Speaking with an experienced family law attorney at the start of the divorce can help, as they can discuss options to settle this issue prior to getting in front of a judge. Results such as a pet visitation schedule and utilizing a joint account for both parties to contribute to the costs of care for the pet are just some of the outcomes an attorney can help clients achieve.

The New Minneapolis Minimum Wage Ordinance Took Effect on January 1, 2018…But Don’t Forget that the State of Minnesota Also Raised Its Minimum Wage The Same Day!

 

New Minneapolis Minimum Wage

On June 30, 2017, the Minneapolis City Council approved a minimum wage ordinance that will gradually raise the minimum wage in the city to $15 per hour.  The new ordinance can be found in Article IV of Chapter 40 of the Minneapolis Code of Ordinances.

The first wage increase under the new Minneapolis ordinance took effect on January 1, 2018, when the minimum wage for large businesses rose to $10.00 per hour.  On July 1, 2018, the minimum wage will increase to $11.25 for large businesses and $10.25 for small businesses.  Thereafter, the minimum wage will gradually increase until it reaches $15.00 per hour.

 

          Definition of Large and Small Businesses

Although the Minneapolis minimum wage ordinance applies to all employers, the rate at which the new minimum wage will be phased in depends upon whether a business is a “large” business, meaning it has more than 100 employees, or a “small” business, which is an employer with 100 or less employees.  When determining business size, all individuals who perform work for compensation, whether full-time, part-time, joint, or temporary employees, must be counted, without regard to whether or not they work in Minneapolis.  Business size for each calendar year is based upon the average number of employees who worked for compensation per week during the previous calendar year.  For a new business, business size for the current calendar year is based upon the average number of employees who worked for compensation per week during the first 90 days after its first employee began work.  Special and more complex rules apply for franchises and full-service restaurants that have multiple locations.

 

          Phase-In of the New Minimum Wage

The minimum hourly wage will increase pursuant to the schedule below.  Note that, despite some controversy, there is no tip credit, meaning that tipped employees must be directly paid at least the minimum wage by their employers.

Date                            Large Business                                              Small Business

Jan. 1, 2018                $10.00                                                                   —-

July 1, 2018                $11.25                                                                   $10.25

July 1, 2019                $12.25                                                                  $11.00

July 1, 2020               $13.25                                                                  $11.75

July 1, 2021                $14.25                                                                  $12.50

July 1, 2022               $15.00                                                                  $13.50

January 1, 2023        At least $15.00 (indexed to inflation),          —

July 1, 2023               —                                                                         $14.50

January 1, 2024       At least $15.00 (indexed to inflation),         —

July 1, 2024              At least $15.00 (indexed to inflation)            At least $15.00 (indexed to inflation)

Thereafter, each Jan. 1   Increases based on inflation                   Increases based on inflation

 

The Minneapolis ordinance does provide for a slightly reduced minimum wage for the first 90 days of employment for an employee who is under the age of 20 and who is employed in a city-approved training or apprenticeship program.  Criteria for such a program will be developed by the city.

 

          Covered Employees

The Minneapolis ordinance applies all time worked by employees within the city.  An employee who typically is based outside of Minneapolis and who only works occasionally in the city is covered in a particular calendar week if the individual works at least 2 hours within the city during any such week (a calendar week for purposes of this ordinance runs from Monday – Sunday).

 

          Notice to Employees

Employers are required to post, in a conspicuous location at any workplace or job site where an employee works, a notice informing employees of the current minimum wage and their rates under the ordinance.  The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights has prepared such a poster in several languages, which poster can be found here.  The notice must be in English and in any other language spoken by at least 5% of the employees at the workplace or job site, if the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights publishes a notice in such language.

 

New Minnesota Minimum Wage

While there has been some discussion in the media regarding the new Minneapolis minimum wage ordinance, there has been very little publicity regarding Minnesota’s minimum wage increase that also took effect on January 1, 2018.  Under Minnesota law, the state minimum wage increases every year based on inflation.  For 2018, the following Minnesota minimum wage rates are in effect:

  • $9.65 per hour for large employers (up from $9.50)
  • $7.87 for small employers (up from $7.75)
  • The 90-day training wage (for people under 20 years old) and the youth (under age 18) wage also increased to $7.87 (up from $7.75)

 

Minnesota defines a large employer and a small employer differently than does Minneapolis.  For purposes of the Minnesota law, a large employer has annual gross revenues of at least $500,000.  A small employer has annual gross revenues of less than $500,000.

While individuals who work at least two hours per week in Minneapolis should be paid at or above the Minneapolis minimum wage for their time worked in the city, all other employees in Minnesota should receive at least the minimum wage required by Minnesota law.

 

Action Item for Employers

Employers need to make sure they are in compliance with all applicable minimum wage requirements, whether they be federal, state or local requirements.  With the start of a new year, now is a good time for businesses to review their wage and hour practices to ensure they are in compliance with all applicable laws.

 

On January 18, 2018, Leonard Segal Served as a Panelist During Minnesota CLE’s 2018 New Lawyer Experience Program

On January 18, 2018, Leonard Segal served as a panelist for “Quick Answers to the Legal Questions that Friends, Relatives and Strangers Will Ask You at Cocktail Parties.”  This was one of many sessions held during Minnesota Continuing Legal Education’s two-day 2018 New Lawyer Experience program.

The panel consisted of experienced lawyers in several areas of the law including employment and labor law (Lenny), estate planning, criminal law, immigration law and family law.  For further information about the 2018 New Lawyer Experience, click here.

Leonard Segal Presented at Minnesota CLE’s 2017 Strategic Solutions for Solo & Small Firms Conference

This year’s Strategic Solutions for Solo & Small Firms Conference was held from August 6-8, 2017, in Duluth, Minnesota.  Once again, Leonard Segal was asked to be a presenter.

This year, Lenny was part of two sessions.  The first, entitled “10 New Employment Law Developments Everyone Should Know” focused on key employment law developments during the past year or so.  Some of those developments received a lot of media attention, such as the new Minneapolis and St. Paul Sick and Safe Time Ordinances and the new Minneapolis minimum wage, while others were hardly mentioned in the news.  Whether highly-publicized or not, Lenny addressed 10 developments at the federal, state and local levels that attorneys who represent employers or employees should know and understand.

Lenny’s other session actually was a team effort, as Lenny served as a panelist for “Cocktail Law – Answers to the Questions You’re Likely to Be Asked at Parties and Other Gatherings.”  This session is always a highlight of CLE programs and brings together a panel of experienced lawyers in a number of practice areas, including employment and labor law.

The Strategic Solutions for Solo & Small Firms Conference is always a fun and educational event for attorneys who work in solo or small law firms.  For more information about this year’s program, click here.

Leonard Segal & Jon Schindel Named to the 2017 Minnesota Super Lawyers list! Andy Dosdall Named to the 2017 Minnesota Rising Stars list!

Congratulations to Leonard Segal and Jon Schindel for being named by their peers to the 2017 Minnesota Super Lawyers list and to Andy Dosdall for being named to the 2017 Minnesota Rising Stars list! Lenny, who is an MSBA Certified Labor and Employment Law Specialist, has been honored to be selected to the Super Lawyers list for 10 consecutive years while Jon is being recognized for the 2nd year in a row.  Andy is a “rookie” and it’s great to see him receive such an honor.

Super Lawyers and Rising Stars are selected based on the results of a multiphase selection process that includes peer nominations, independent research of candidates, and a blue ribbon panel review process.  Being named to the Super Lawyers list is an honor that is given to no more than 5% of Minnesota attorneys and being named to the Rising Stars list is an honor that is given to no more than 2.5% of Minnesota attorneys.  Rising Stars are limited to individuals who are 40 years old or younger or who have been in practice for 10 years or less. For more information about the selection process, please click here.

Jon, Lenny, and Andy greatly appreciate the support of their fellow lawyers and thank them for this honor.  They also thank all of their clients, for whom they always try to do their best work and whose trust and confidence is greatly appreciated.

Leonard Segal & Jon Schindel Named to the 2017 Minnesota Super Lawyers list! Andy Dosdall Named to the 2017 Minnesota Rising Stars list!

Congratulations to Leonard Segal and Jon Schindel for being named by their peers to the 2017 Minnesota Super Lawyers list and to Andy Dosdall for being named to the 2017 Minnesota Rising Stars list! Lenny, who is an MSBA Certified Labor and Employment Law Specialist, has been honored to be selected to the Super Lawyers list for 10 consecutive years while Jon is being recognized for the 2nd year in a row.  Andy is a “rookie” and it’s great to see him receive such an honor.

Super Lawyers and Rising Stars are selected based on the results of a multiphase selection process that includes peer nominations, independent research of candidates, and a blue ribbon panel review process.  Being named to the Super Lawyers list is an honor that is given to no more than 5% of Minnesota attorneys and being named to the Rising Stars list is an honor that is given to no more than 2.5% of Minnesota attorneys.  Rising Stars are limited to individuals who are 40 years old or younger or who have been in practice for 10 years or less. For more information about the selection process, please click here.

Jon, Lenny, and Andy greatly appreciate the support of their fellow lawyers and thank them for this honor.  They also thank all of their clients, for whom they always try to do their best work and whose trust and confidence is greatly appreciated.

Leonard Segal & Jon Schindel Named to the 2017 Minnesota Super Lawyers list! Andy Dosdall Named to the 2017 Minnesota Rising Stars list!

Congratulations to Leonard Segal and Jon Schindel for being named by their peers to the 2017 Minnesota Super Lawyers list and to Andy Dosdall for being named to the 2017 Minnesota Rising Stars list! Lenny, who is an MSBA Certified Labor and Employment Law Specialist, has been honored to be selected to the Super Lawyers list for 10 consecutive years while Jon is being recognized for the 2nd year in a row.  Andy is a “rookie” and it’s great to see him receive such an honor.

Super Lawyers and Rising Stars are selected based on the results of a multiphase selection process that includes peer nominations, independent research of candidates, and a blue ribbon panel review process.  Being named to the Super Lawyers list is an honor that is given to no more than 5% of Minnesota attorneys and being named to the Rising Stars list is an honor that is given to no more than 2.5% of Minnesota attorneys.  Rising Stars are limited to individuals who are 40 years old or younger or who have been in practice for 10 years or less. For more information about the selection process, please click here.

Jon, Lenny, and Andy greatly appreciate the support of their fellow lawyers and thank them for this honor.  They also thank all of their clients, for whom they always try to do their best work and whose trust and confidence is greatly appreciated.

Leonard Segal & Jon Schindel Named to the 2017 Minnesota Super Lawyers list! Andy Dosdall Named to the 2017 Minnesota Rising Stars list!

Congratulations to Leonard Segal and Jon Schindel for being named by their peers to the 2017 Minnesota Super Lawyers list and to Andy Dosdall for being named to the 2017 Minnesota Rising Stars list! Lenny, who is an MSBA Certified Labor and Employment Law Specialist, has been honored to be selected to the Super Lawyers list for 10 consecutive years while Jon is being recognized for the 2nd year in a row.  Andy is a “rookie” and it’s great to see him receive such an honor.

Super Lawyers and Rising Stars are selected based on the results of a multiphase selection process that includes peer nominations, independent research of candidates, and a blue ribbon panel review process.  Being named to the Super Lawyers list is an honor that is given to no more than 5% of Minnesota attorneys and being named to the Rising Stars list is an honor that is given to no more than 2.5% of Minnesota attorneys.  Rising Stars are limited to individuals who are 40 years old or younger or who have been in practice for 10 years or less. For more information about the selection process, please click here.

Jon, Lenny, and Andy greatly appreciate the support of their fellow lawyers and thank them for this honor.  They also thank all of their clients, for whom they always try to do their best work and whose trust and confidence is greatly appreciated.

Leonard Segal’s Article Regarding the New Minneapolis and St. Paul Sick and Safe Time Requirements Published

The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants asked Leonard Segal to write an article regarding the new Minneapolis and St. Paul Sick and Safe Time Requirements that are scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2017.  The article has been published in the MNCPA June/July 2017 issue of Footnotes magazine.  You can read the article here (web version) or here (magazine print version).

Employer Action: The Governor vetoed a bill put forth by the Minnesota State Legislature to prevent cities from passing ordinances such as these so, absent further intervention from the courts, these new ordinances will take effect on July 1, 2017.   Employers who have not yet done so would be wise to plan now to ensure compliance with these new ordinances.

 

 

 

 

Leonard Segal Presented Four Sessions at Minnesota CLE’s 2017 Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute

The 2017 Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, co-sponsored by Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section, and the Twin Cities Human Resource Association, took place on May 22 & 23, 2017 at the St. Paul RiverCentre.  The annual ELI is one of the largest employment law conferences in the country!

Leonard Segal was honored to be asked to speak once again at this year’s ELI.  This year, Lenny led four sessions, including two during the alternate plenary session.  If you were at this year’s ELI, hopefully you had a chance to see at least one of Lenny’s sessions.  Here is a brief summary of each of Lenny’s sessions:

  • Unlawful Harassment in the workplace – During the alternate plenary session, Lenny guided attendees through the current state of the law regarding unlawful workplace harassment.  Topics included: what constitutes “unwelcome” and “severe or pervasive” conduct, the standard for determining whether conduct rises to the level of unlawful harassment, and when an employer can be held liable for unlawful harassment.
  • Hiring and screening – During the alternate plenary session Lenny, filling in for another presenter who was unable to attend, addressed what employers can and cannot do during the hiring process.  Among the topics discussed were: questions employers can and cannot ask of job applicants, what background checks can be conducted, and the extent to which screening or or other testing may be conducted.
  • Open Forum on the Family and Medical Leave Act – Intended to be a more advanced FMLA session, Lenny and two other experienced employment law attorney led this session in which attendees had the opportunity to ask anything and everything about the FMLA.  As anyone who applies the FMLA knows, tricky situations can arise when the FMLA is involved.  This was a fun session that yielded dozens of questions from attendees.  It could have gone on for the entire afternoon if there was sufficient time!
  • Open Forum on Discipline and Discharge – Discipline and discharge of employees can be very tricky even for the most well-intentioned employers.   During this session, attendees were able to ask the panel their toughest discipline & discharge questions.  The same panel that led the Open Forum on the FMLA also led this session.

As always, this year’s Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute was terrific!  Attendees were able to learn a ton of information and walked out with great resource materials.  For further information about this year’s program, please click this link: 2017 Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute

If you attended this year, we hope you had a great time and found the ELI to be a great experience!