Minnesota labor standards laws were created to protect employees. These laws include provisions regarding the responsibilities of an employer should they choose to terminate an employee. If you work for a company in or around the Burnsville, MN, area and have been recently terminated from your job, it’s important that you know your rights. Here are some questions that will help determine if you have been wrongfully terminated.
Why did you terminate me?
Under Minnesota law, your employer is required to comply with your inquiries. The employer must provide a valid reason for termination if requested in writing by the employee, as long as the request is made within 15 working days of the termination. The employer must respond within 10 days of the request.
What does it mean that Minnesota is an employment “at will” state?
“At will” means the employer has the right to fire any employee at any time as long as the reason to do so is legal. Discriminatory termination based on race, color, sex, sexual orientation, or other characteristic is illegal and therefore not protected under “at will” employment laws. If you feel you were terminated on these grounds, an experienced employment attorney can provide necessary legal assistance.
Is discrimination the only reason for termination not covered by “at will” laws?
No. Another illegal reason to terminate is when it is being done as retaliation to something the employee did or said. For example, if an employee files a claim alleging the employer of violating a regulation or law, that employee cannot be fired as a consequence of the actions. These kinds of termination violations are called whistleblower claims.
What if I have a contract?
If the employer has a contract with the employee that indicates a specific term and the employee is terminated prior to that term, the employee may be able to file a wrongful termination claim. This is especially the case if the employee does not follow disciplinary action or termination guidelines establish in the contract or company handbook. Being terminated while in contract does not guarantee wrongful termination; this claim is dependent on a number of specific factors regarding the situation. An experienced attorney familiar with employment law can help determine if the termination was legal.
Can I be terminated because of participating in civic duty?
No. Understandably, employers do not like when employees are called upon to fulfill these duties because it means they must still provide wage without the benefit of having the employee work. But employers cannot terminate an employee if they are forced to miss work because of jury duty, complying with a subpoena, voting, or any other activity that qualifies as civic duty.
Does my employer have to give me advanced notice of termination?
Providing a two-week notice of separation (done by either the employer or the employee) is a courtesy, but is not required by law. As long as the reason is legal, an employer can terminate an employer effective immediately.
Am I still entitled to benefits, insurance, and outstanding wages following a termination?
Generally speaking, benefits and insurance cease as soon as termination is complete. However, an employee is still entitled to receive payment or compensation for services or hours completed prior to the termination. Minnesota Statutes 181.13 and 181.14 state that wages are due within 24 hours of termination, or within 20 days of the last day worked in the event of a voluntary-quit on the part of the employee.
Wrongful termination can be damaging to both your professional and personal life. If you have been terminated but feel the decision was made on illegal grounds, we can help you seek recourse against the employer. If you find yourself faced with a legal issue regarding employment, contact us. Our clients receive the skilled and comprehensive representation necessary to defend your rights.