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S.F. No. 1816 - Wage Theft (Second Engrossment)
Author: Senator Eric R. Pratt
Prepared By: Carlon D. Fontaine, Senate Counsel (651/296-4395)
Date: March 18, 2019


Section 1.  Examination of records.  In addition to requiring that there may be a potential violation of a Minnesota law, order, or rule, specifies that an employee making a wage claim or complaint provides a written demand for payment to the employer at least ten days prior to the commissioner of labor and industry initiating an investigation.

Section 2. Labor trafficking and wage theft free workplace recognition program. Establishes a "labor trafficking and wage theft free" recognition program within the Department of Labor and Industry. Requires an employer requesting recognition in the program to provide wage and hour information to employees, offer training on recognizing labor trafficking in the workplace, and allow reasonable inspection and submission of records. Requires the commissioner to consider favorably an employer’s recognition as a "labor trafficking and wage theft free" workplace when conducting wage and hour investigations and issuing penalties for violations. Allows the commissioner to suspend or revoke a certificate if the employer has not made a good faith effort to implement the conditions of the certificate or if the employer violates the wage and hour laws specified.

Section 3. Misdemeanors. Provides that an employer who commits wage theft is guilty of a misdemeanor. Specifies that an employer who commits wage theft after previously being convicted of committing wage theft is guilty of a gross misdemeanor. Provides that prosecutions and punishment for conduct that constitutes other crimes are not precluded.  Applies to crimes committed on or after August 1, 2019.

Section 4.  Prohibited practices.  Provides a definition of wage theft. Specifies that there must be intent to commit wage theft. Includes failure to pay all wages to which an employee was entitled and retaliation against an employee for asserting rights under the section to the prohibited practices that constitute wage theft.

Section 5.  Enforcement.  Gives enforcement authority over section 181.03 to the commissioner of labor and industry.

Section 6.  Effect on other laws.  Provides that section 181.03 should not be construed to limit application of federal or other state laws.

Section 7.  Appropriation.  Appropriates an unspecified amount to the commissioner of labor and industry to address wage theft. Requires the commissioner to expend an unspecified percentage of that amount on outreach and education on wage theft.

Section 8. Appropriation; labor trafficking grant. Appropriates $350,000 in fiscal years 2020 and 2021 from the general fund to the Commissioner of Labor and Industry for a competitive grant award to a nonprofit organization that serves victims of labor trafficking to: (1) develop a statewide model protocol for law enforcement, prosecutors, and other persons who in their professional capacity encounter labor trafficking to identify and intervene with victims of labor trafficking; (2) conduct statewide training for law enforcement and prosecutors; and (3) develop and disseminate investigative best practices to identify victims of labor trafficking and traffickers to law enforcement, prosecutors, and other persons. Requires a report to be submitted by January 15, 2021, on the grant process, how the grant money was spent, and results.


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