Navigating Minnesota Employment Law

Minnesota Employment Lawyer for Unfair Employment Practices
There are nearly 3 million nonfarm employees in Minnesota, tasked with providing products and services that are important to the region and beyond. Many people do not realize that these employees are protected from unfair employment practices as a result of Minnesota employment law. If you have suffered discriminatory treatment at the workplace, have been wrongfully terminated, or deprived of your whistleblower protections, an experienced employment lawyer can help you understand the process of holding your employer legally responsible for the wrongs that were done to you.

Understanding Minnesota Employment Law

Minnesota employment law is a series of federal and state laws designed to protect employees from unfair workplace practices. Without these laws in place, employees would have little recourse against discrimination, wrongful termination, and would be hard-pressed to report illegal behavior by their employer as it would most certainly result in a loss of employment or forced participation in illegal activities by the employer.

Cases Employment Law Might Cover

Employment law is a wide umbrella of different federal and state protections. Here is a look at some of the most common types of cases that employment law covers.

Workplace Discrimination

Workplace discrimination is the unfair treatment of an individual at their place of employment that is based on the individual’s race, religion, sex — including pregnancy, gender identity, or sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age, or genetic information. Examples of workplace discrimination include:
  • Unequal pay or promotion when compared to similarly experienced and educated employees due to the individual’s race, gender, or other discriminatory category.
  • Lack of diversity at management levels of the business.
  • Demeaning language or jokes about an individual’s race, gender, gender identity, disability, or age that can give rise to the creation of a hostile work environment.
  • Favoritism of certain employees based on race, gender, or other discriminatory categories.
  • Unjust disciplinary actions taken against a certain group of employees that is discriminatory in nature.

Wrongful Termination

Minnesota is an at-will employment state. What this means is that an employee can quit at any time and an employer can fire an employee for any reason, provided it is not discriminatory based on the individuals race, religion, sex, national origin, disibility, age, or genetic information. However, wrongful termination can occur even in at-will employment states. Examples of wrongful termination in Minnesota include:
  • Violations to your employment contract: In at-will states, if an employee has a contract that spells out the terms of their employment — including provisions for termination — and their termination occurred contrary to the stipulations in the employment contract, the employer can be held liable for breach of contract.
  • Your termination was discriminatory in nature: Whether based on your age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, gender, pregnancy, or other protected class.
  • You were retaliated against for filing a worker’s compensation claim or a whistleblower claim.
  • You were fired in a manner that is contrary to the rights of employment you are granted: Through federal employment laws, including the Civil Rights Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, or others.
  • Your employer was engaging in illegal business practices: That breach good faith and fair dealing, such as firing someone to prevent them from collecting a sales commission or firing someone in order to hire someone else who is willing to work for lower wages.
  • Blacklisting: Which involves preventing an individual from finding employment after termination by tarnishing your reputation in the industry.

The Whistleblower Act

Minnesota’s Whistleblower Act prevents retaliation against employees who report the illegal activities of their employers under the following circumstances:
  • The employee reported their employer to authorities for a violation or suspected violation of federal or state laws.
  • The employee was asked by officials to participate in a legal investigation or hearing.
  • The employee refuses the employer’s demand to participate in an act that they believe is in violation of federal or state laws.
Whistleblowers face a number of consequences at the workplace as a result of their willingness to report their employer’s illegal activities or participate in an activity that they believe is illegal. Some ways employers violate the Whistleblower Act is by:
  • Intimidating or harassing the employee
  • Reassigning the employee in a way that will impact their ability to get a promotion
  • Demoting, transferring, or reducing the pay or hours of the whistleblower
  • Denying the employee overtime or a promotion in order to punish them for the report
  • Failing to hire or rehire the employee who made the report
  • Wrongfully terminating an employee after they report their suspicions

How a Minnesota Employment Lawyer Can Help

An employment lawyer is a legal representative who has been trained and is experienced in assisting individuals who have been mistreated in the workplace as a result of discrimination, wrongful termination, or a violation of the Whistleblower Act to pursue compensation from their employer’s insurance for the financial and psychological hardship they experienced as a result of these wrongful employment practices. Some of the services we provide for our clients include:

  • Determination as to whether the employer violated federal or state employment laws
  • Assistance with gathering evidence and witness testimony to support your claims
  • Settlement negotiations with the employer’s insurance carrier in an attempt to garner a settlement that provides compensation for your monetary and psychological costs and also develops a plan pertaining to your employment going forward
  • Litigation services provided if your employment case is decided in court
  • Assistance collecting your settlement or court award
If you believe you have been a victim of unfair work practices, contact an experienced Minnesota employment lawyer for a free case evaluation and guidance as to your next steps.