Minnesota residents who work for an employer on an Indian reservation may be interested in an article discussing whether federal and state employment law protections apply to them. The answer is not simple, and greatly depends on the location of the reservation and the particular law in question.
Because Native American reservations are sovereign nations, they are more akin to a foreign country than a part of a U.S. state. Generally, this means that employment laws do not apply to tribal governments and businesses. There are some laws, such as Title VII’s anti-discrimination law, that were written specifically to exempt Native American tribes. The WARN Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act do not apply to tribal governments either.
In many cases, however, either tribal governments agree to follow certain laws or are ordered by state courts to follow those laws. What laws apply can be different on a state-by-state basis. Courts have held that tribal governments in some jurisdictions must comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act. This means that employees must receive wages for all hours they have perform their job duties. Other states have negotiated contracts with the tribes in order to have jurisdiction over employment law claims. Finally, some states have agreements with particular businesses, such as Indian casinos, to exercise jurisdiction over those businesses.
Determining whether a particular law applies on Native American land can be difficult, given the complexities of the law. An attorney with experience in employment law may be able to help with these and other claims under wage and overtime laws. The attorney may be able to assess the employee’s issues and determine the appropriate course of action going forward.
Source: AOL Jobs, “Do I Have Workplace Rights If I Work In An Indian Casino?“, Donna Ballman , June 17, 2014