Minnesota is an at-will employment state, which means employers can fire workers for all sorts of reasons—or for no reason. This gives companies considerable leeway, allowing them to terminate employees for seemingly trivial reasons. While it may seem unfair, there’s nothing illegal or wrongful about most of these firings.
How Are Terminations Deemed Wrongful?
Minnesota’s laws set forth very narrow circumstances in which a termination may be considered wrongful. When employers fire workers because they belong to a protected class, or because they’ve engaged in protected activities, there may be grounds for a wrongful termination claim. Call MJSB Employment Justice to schedule a free consultation.
Workers Who Belong to Protected Classes May File Claims in Some Instances
The Minnesota Human Rights Act says that an individual’s color, race, creed, nationality, religion, gender, public assistance status, age, disability, familial status, marital status, and sexual orientation cannot be used to justify their termination. Therefore, if a person is fired because of one or more of the above traits, the termination is considered discriminatory and wrongful.
Filing a Claim Based on Protected Conduct
A worker may be able to file a wrongful termination claim if they’ve been fired for performing protected actions, such as whistleblowing or violation reporting. The refusal to engage in illegal activities, participation in hearings and investigations, associating with protected class members, and certain other actions are also covered. If someone has lost their job for any of the above actions, their firing is considered retaliatory, and they may have a wrongful termination claim.
Furthermore, a worker’s termination may be deemed wrongful if their employer has fired them for taking FMLA or disability leave, asking for ADA accommodations, joining a union, or filing a claim for worker’s compensation. Consult an attorney today to learn more about your legal options after a wrongful termination.
Steps to Take After a Wrongful Termination
When building a wrongful termination claim, there are a few steps for workers to take. First, they should save relevant employment documents such as applications, emails, employment contracts, leave requests, doctor’s notes, and other papers that may be used in a lawsuit.
Next, the worker should submit a written request for their personnel file, which is covered by Minnesota law. An employment attorney will need the file to assess the legitimacy of the claim. If the employee has not received their final paycheck, they can also request it. From the date of the request, the employer has 24 hours to submit payment, or they may face penalties equaling up to 15 days’ worth of wages.
The most important thing a wrongfully terminated worker can do is to schedule a consultation with an employment lawyer. By doing this, the worker will stay within the statute of limitations. Our firm offers free, no-obligation consultations to discuss a claim’s merits and the worker’s legal options.
What Kind of Damages Can a Worker Recover in a Wrongful Termination Claim in Minnesota?
Depending on the case’s circumstances, an unjustly fired worker may receive damages for wage loss (including back and front pay), as well as the intentional infliction of emotional distress. In some cases, punitive damages may be awarded.
Don’t Let Employers Get Away With It
While most employers deal with workers fairly, that’s not always the case. Don’t let a company’s unjust firing decisions go unnoticed; file a claim if possible. Request additional information online or call today to schedule a consultation with an employment attorney.