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In order to know where to start, it is important to understand that employment law consist of both federal law and state law. An employer is responsible for complying with both sets of laws because there are differences.

According to federal law, an employer cannot discriminate against you in the workplace based on: age, disability, equal pay/compensation, genetic information, harassment, national origin, pregnancy, race/color, religion, retaliation, sex, and/or sexual harassment.

The federal law only applies to employers with 15 or more employees working 20 or more weeks a year. The time limit to file an employment discrimination claim under federal law also varies based on the type of discrimination. For example, if you are claiming race discrimination, you must file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") within 300 days from the date you were discriminated. If you are claiming age discrimination then you have 180 days to file a claim with the EEOC.

States can create their own sets of law to provide additional protection for employees. Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act ("MHRA"), in addition to what is prohibited under the federal law, an employer also cannot discriminate against you on the basis of: public assistance, familial status, and/or sexual orientation.

Unlike the federal law, the MHRA applies to all employers in Minnesota, regardless of the number of employees there are. In addition, regardless of the type of discrimination, you have one year to file a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights ("MDHR").

If you think you have a claim that can be brought under the federal and state law, then you can choose to file your complaint with either the EEOC or the MDHR. If your claim involves public assistance discrimination then your only option is to file a complaint with the MDHR (since public assistance discrimination is not recognized under federal law). The EEOC and MDHR are responsible for investigating the claim. You cannot sue an employer directly in court unless you obtain a "right to sue" letter from the EEOC or MDHR.

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Are you a parent? Are you purchasing life insurance and thinking of naming your child as the beneficiary? Or, do you already have life insurance and named your child as a beneficiary?

As parents, we want to protect our children's future. We often think naming our children as beneficiaries will protect them. However, there may be unexpected hurtles, such as the possibility of dying before your children reaches 18 years old.

If you die before your child turns 18, most states will not allow your child to claim the life insurance money. Under the law, any child under 18 years old is not old enough to handle their own money. If you named your child and you died before they turn 18 years old, the following could happen:

Your family will have to go to court and ask the court to name a conservator. Conservatorship come with court monitoring that can require additional time and legal knowledge, including yearly financial reporting. Your child will not have access to the money unless the court releases it. Depending on the conservator, your child’s money could be used to pay the named conservator a fee.

Second, the court may put the life insurance money into a protective account and restrict access to the funds. Your child will not have access to the money and the account will be supervised and monitored closely by the court. When your child turns 18 years old your child may then petition the court to release the money. This option is easier than a conservatorship. However, your family may not have a choice in the type of account the money is deposited in and your child will not have access to the money until your child is 18.

With either option, the courts will not take any additional action to protect the money after your child turns 18. At 18, the court will stop monitoring the account and your child may withdraw all the funds.

To protect your child’s interest in the long-term, please contact me to discuss estate planning options that are available to you.

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