Menards to pay back-wages, fine for reported labor law violations at Fridley store

A state investigation found that Menards violated Minnesota law by deducting an employee’s wages for time spent expressing milk, according to a consent order signed in December.

Minnesota law requires employers to provide lactating workers with reasonable paid break time to express milk.

A news release from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) shows that Menards will pay thousands of dollars in fines after investigators found the company retaliated against a worker who filed a complaint “asserting her workplace rights.”

That worker will also be paid back-wages and compensatory damages for funds deducted from her pay for taking breaks to express milk, DLI says.

State officials say an investigation into Menards’ Fridley location found that the company violated state labor laws during the audit period of Dec. 1, 2022, through May 21, 2023.

The consent order states that Menards will pay $15,000 in civil penalties, with $7,500 stayed pending compliance with the rest of the agreement.

In addition to a statewide audit of its stores, Menards also agreed to the following conditions:

  • Paying back-wages to compensate the worker for illegally deducting time from the worker’s pay on 103 separate occasions;
  • Paying damages to compensate the worker for three days of lost wages when she was suspended in retaliation for asserting her workplace rights;
  • Performing a statewide audit of all of its stores to confirm no other workers had their wages deducted for expressing milk and, if they did, compensating all workers whose wages were reduced;
  • Reporting the outcome of the audit to DLI;
  • Updating its policy handbook to reflect all current rights under WESA, including rights to express milk, pregnancy accommodations and parental leave; and
  • Posting a copy of DLI’s nursing employees’ poster at each store in Minnesota, as well as a copy of the consent order.

The measures are meant to ensure that Menards complies with the Women’s Economic Security Act (WESA).

DLI released the following statement:

“Workers should not have to choose between expressing milk for their child and getting paid or keeping their job. DLI supports new parents who choose to return to the workforce and understands the importance and impact of enforcing the Minnesota law protecting workers’ rights to express milk at work without having their compensation reduced.”

-DLI Commissioner Nicole Blissenbach

Updated state labor laws for pregnant workers and new parents can be found here.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reached out to Menards for a response but has not yet heard back.