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On Friday, March 21, 2014, Ashwin Madia was invited to speak to students at St. Louis Park High School regarding the rule of law.  Madia is a former Marine JAG who served in Iraq and helped establish the rule of law in the war-torn country.  A full video of the speech is available below:

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On January 15, 2014, Ashwin Madia spoke on Leading Outside Your Comfort Zone as part of the University of Minnesota Law School‘s Corporate Institute Leadership Foundations Program.  Below is a video and transcript of his talk:

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The myriad surveys, articles, and headlines are clear: whether you are aware of it or not, your employers—both prospective and current—are monitoring (and, in some instances, controlling) your social media presence. [1] [2] [3].  As long as management-side employment law attorneys continue to tout a parade of horrible to their clients regarding social media, this trend will continue.

There are and have been countless warnings in the form of online articles, workplace policies, and various other friendly reminders: think twice before using social media to broadcast your stream of consciousness via poorly-thought status updates and 140-character snark-ridden commentary.  Yet, employees continue to tank their present or prospective employment by making atrociously bad decisions relating to social media. [4] [5].

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It is imperative that employees begin to grapple with the reality of social media: absolutely nothing is as private as you think. [click to continue…]

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is in the business of keeping people from being treated unfairly in the workplace.  Somewhat ironically, the vast majority of the EEOC’s employees are at home today, having been forced out of work since the federal government shut down 11 days ago.  Their lack of employment during the shutdown is also affecting thousands of employees in the private sector who have been harassed, discriminated, retaliated again, and underpaid.

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Due to the EEOC’s shutdown contingency plan, approximately 100 of the EEOC’s nearly 2200 employees are working during the furlough period. According to the agency’s plan, those employees will simply stamp claims of discrimination with their receipt dates as they are filed.  Investigation of those charges, however, will not continue until the federal government is reopened and funding is properly restored.   [click to continue…]

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Madia Law filed a class and collective action lawsuit in February against Regency Beauty Institute (a national for-profit cosmetology school) on behalf of current and former employees in Regency’s Admissions Department seeking unpaid overtime wages.  On July 15, U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank granted Plaintiffs’ Motion for Conditional Class Certification.

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The five named plaintiffs in the suit worked as Admissions Representatives at Regency; their job was to make phone calls to prospective students regarding Regency and attempt to enroll them in the school.  They allege that they were not properly paid overtime pay during their time at Regency and that, when they raised the issue with Regency leadership, they were told not to pursue the issue or “burn bridges.”  The lawsuit is described in detail here.  Since the lawsuit was filed in February, eleven additional Admissions Representatives have joined.

The Court’s decision allows Plaintiffs to notify – through a Court authorized notice – all potential class members of the existence of the lawsuit and their ability to participate.  Additionally, the Court’s decision mandates that Regency post notice of the lawsuit at its workplace so that current employees may also make informed decisions regarding participation in the suit.

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Madia Law is currently accepting applications for the position of Legal Assistant. This position in a small civil litigation firm focusing on employment law, business litigation, and civil rights matters. Madia Law is located in downtown Minneapolis near Target Field in the Warehouse District. [click to continue…]

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Employment disputes can be tumultuous, often leading to a “your word against mine” situation.  However, when one of those parties is a large corporation and the other is just a single employee, the employee can be at a slight disadvantage in terms of the weight given to on their recollection of events by the judge and/or jury. Because of this, the use of an investigator can offer a critical advantage in an employment law case.

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You can be assured that the employer is doing their due diligence and attempting to uncover everything that they can about the employee and his or her time with the company.   It is in the employee’s and their attorneys’ best interests to do the same. [click to continue…]

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The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently agreed to take a case that could potentially lead to the Badger State becoming only the second state to require a warrant before tracking an individual based on their cell phone.  In May, Montana enacted a bill that made them the first.  See H.B. 603, 63rd Leg., Reg. Sess. (Mont. 2013).

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In June 2009, Milwaukee police obtained video surveillance of a suspect purchasing a cell phone before fatally shooting a man.  The police acquired the number of the cell phone and obtained a court order to track the phone’s physical location.  This tracking led the police to Bobby Tate, who they found wearing the same clothes of the suspect on the video and also blood-stained shoes containing the same DNA as that of the shooting victim.  Tate alleges that the police obtained evidence against him by violating his Fourth Amendment rights. [click to continue…]

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It’s been a busy week for employment law and civil rights.  The impact of the past week’s Supreme Court decisions on these two areas of law cannot be understated.  The Voting Rights Act was gutted, killing protections put in place to prevent discrimination at the ballot box.  The Civil Rights Act was substantially weakened, stripping minority employees across the country from access to Title VII remedies. And although the news for same-sex couples was brighter, the Court’s narrow decisions on that front leave much work to be done in the struggle for equality.

Wednesday, the Supreme Court released its decisions in United States v. Windsor (the “DOMA” case) and Hollingsworth v. Perry (the “Prop 8″ case).  These two cases each had the potential to become landmark civil rights precedent, with monumental significance for gay and lesbian Americans; they were heralded by pundits as the most important civil rights cases of our generation.

Indeed, the decision in Windsor will go down as one of the most significant decisions in Supreme Court history; it struck at the heart of DOMA and declared gay and lesbians deserving of equal protection under the law.  The Court’s decision in Perry, on the other hand, will soon be brushed into the dusty corners of irrelevance; in that case, a group of five strange bedfellow Justices entirely ducked the question of whether same-sex couples are entitled to marriage equality.  Thus, the struggle for gay civil rights marches on – and there is a lot of ground to cover. [click to continue…]

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From Justice Ginsburg’s dissent in today’s Supreme Court Decision in Vance v. Ball State, which narrowly defined “supervisor” so as to limit employer liability (thus, employee protection) in workplace harassment cases:

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Exhibiting remarkable resistance to the thrust of our prior decisions, workplace realities, and the EEOC’s Guidance, the Court embraces a position that relieves scores of employers of responsibility for the behavior of the supervisors they employ. Trumpeting the virtues of simplicity and administrability, the Court restricts supervisor status to those with power to take tangible employment actions. In so restricting the definition of supervisor, the Court once again shuts from sight the “robust protection against workplace discrimination Congress intended Title VII to secure.”

Regrettably, the Court has seized upon Vance’s thin case to narrow the definition of supervisor, and thereby manifestly limit Title VII’s protections against workplace harassment. Not even Ball State, the defendant-employer in this case, has advanced the restrictive definition the Court adopts. See supra, at 5. Yet the Court, insistent on constructing artificial categories where context should be key, proceeds on an immoderate and unrestrained course to corral Title VII. Congress has, in the recent past, intervened to correct this Court’s wayward interpretations of Title VII. See Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, 123 Stat. 5, superseding Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 550 U. S. 618 (2007). See also Civil Rights Act of 1991, 105 Stat.1071, superseding in part, Lorance v. AT&T Technologies, Inc., 490 U. S. 900 (1989); Martin v. Wilks, 490 U. S. 755 (1989); Wards Cove Packing Co. v. Atonio, 490 U. S. 642 (1989); and Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U. S. 228 (1989). The ball is once again in Congress’ court to correct the error into which this Court has fallen, and to restore the robust protections against workplace harassment the Court weakens today.

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Effective E-Discovery in Employment Law Litigation

June 20, 2013

In employment lawsuits, preserving, finding, and utilizing electronic evidence can mean the difference between winning, winning big, or losing on summary judgment.  Electronic discovery (“e-discovery”) is an important source of critical evidence that can help you establish proof of discrimination, retaliation, and pretext.  Because such evidence can be digitally buried in complex servers and information […]

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Whistleblower Law: Increased Protection For Minnesota Employees

June 19, 2013

On May 24, 2013, Governor Mark Dayton signed HF 542, a bill adding additional protections for whistleblowers.  The Minnesota Whistleblower Act (MWA) was originally passed in 1987, and the purpose was to prohibit employers from acting in a retaliatory manner against employees who made a good faith report of any federal or state law or […]

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Increase in Minneapolis Police Misconduct Lawsuits: a Result of Failed Oversight?

June 18, 2013

A civilized society depends on a well-maintained police force dedicated to service and protection.  However, when officers stray from the duties sworn in their oath, the citizens must have some method of redress.  The current approach in Minneapolis ignores the importance of deterring unacceptable officer behavior and instead focuses on mitigating bad press and decreasing […]

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Problems With Caps on Damages in Employment Law Suits

June 3, 2013

Early last month, a federal jury in the Southern District of Iowa awarded a $240 million verdict to 32 mentally disabled men that suffered through years of slave-like employment in a turkey slaughterhouse operated by Henry’s Turkey Service, also known as Hill Country Farms.  Hill Country, a Texas based company, operated the slaughterhouse in Iowa […]

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EEOC Sues Employers for Use of Genetic Information

May 28, 2013

On May 7, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) brought (and quickly settled) its very first case under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”).  The complaint alleged that an employer had illegally gathered genetic information during job applicants’ medical exams. GINA, which went into effect in 2009, prohibits the use of genetic information […]

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Not My Fault, Your Honor. She’s Just Too Hot.

March 4, 2013

It’s a tactic long used by defendants in both civil and criminal cases.  From charges of rape to sexual harassment, men take the stand and point the finger at their female victims.  Claiming that they “asked for it,” or that they “wanted it,” such men have often found sympathetic audiences in judges and juries. In […]

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Jan 2013: Madia Law Sues Tech Company for Sex Discrimination

January 29, 2013

Madia Law, representing a woman who worked at a Twin Cities technology company, has initiated a sex discrimination lawsuit against the company pursuant to the Minnesota Human Rights Act.  Just prior to the Plaintiff’s hire, the company (which has been in business for decades) employed dozens of men and not a single woman. In Fall […]

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Twin Cities: Workplace Race Discrimination May Stem from School Segregation

January 11, 2013

The Twin Cities leads the nation in racial inequality in the workplace.  A study released last month by the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity at the University of Minnesota Law School suggests one potential contributory reason for the inequity between black and white employees in Minneapolis and St. Paul: segregation that begins in school. In the […]

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“Minnesota Lawyer” covers Madia Law’s $1.3 Million Verdict in Breach of Duty Case

October 5, 2012

Minnesota Lawyer covered Madia Law’s recent $1.3 million jury verdict in it’s October issue.  The front-page article includes excerpts of interviews with Ashwin Madia and Susan Gaertner.  

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Photos: Madia Law Happy Hour

September 27, 2012

Photos from Madia Law Happy Hour on September 26, 2012 at The Local in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. Approximately 130 guests were present. Photos courtesy of George Byron Griffiths.

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