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A brief look at two retaliation laws in Minnesota

Last time, we spoke about an out-of-state lawsuit filed involving a Minnesota company accused of engaging in retaliatory termination of an employee. As we noted, employee protections against retaliation exist at both the federal and state level, particularly in the area of employment discrimination.

Here in Minnesota, the Human Rights Act prohibits employers from engaging in reprisal against any individual because that individual spoke out against violations of the law, or because that person filed a charge, testified, assisted or participated in an investigation, proceeding or hearing under the law. It is also illegal for employers to engage in reprisal of an employee for associating with a person or group who belong to a protected class. 

Employee reprisal can take the form of clear retaliatory action, but it may also show up as intimidation or harassment, refusal to hire, departing from customary employment practices, transferring or assigning the employee to a lesser position, and so on. Retaliation protections also exist in the workers’ compensation system and for family and medical leave benefits.

Under the Minnesota Whistleblower Act, employers are prohibited from engaging in retaliatory action against an employee, or any other individual, for reporting violations or suspected violations of federal or state laws or regulations. Neither may employers retaliate against an employee for participating in an investigation, hearing, or inquiry regarding violations of the law. The statute also prohibits employers from taking retaliatory action against an employee for refusing to comply with an order to engage in activity the employee objectively believes is illegal.

In our next post we’ll look at the issue of proving retaliation.


2015 MN Statutes: Section 363A.15

2015 MN Statutes: Section 181.932


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