No one wants to get fired from a job. Whether the termination of your employment came as a surprise out of the blue or whether it was the culmination of months of negative feedback and your boss telling you that your job was on the chopping block, you probably feel that it was unfair of your employer to terminate your employment. Minnesota law gives employers a lot of freedom to terminate workers’ jobs for almost any reason, as well as giving workers the right to quit their jobs as they choose. The law does, however, indicate situations in which it is illegal for an employer to terminate an employee’s job. One of these reasons is discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender, age or disability. It is also illegal for employers to fire you before the end of your employment contract or to terminate your job as retaliation for filing a worker’s compensation claim, requesting reasonable accommodations for a disability, or complaining about discrimination against you or a coworker. If you think that your employer violated the law by firing you from your job, contact the Minneapolis wrongful termination of employment lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP.
Minnesota At-Will Employment Laws
Like many other states, Minnesota is an at-will employment state. This means that, unless the job involves an employment contract that says otherwise, employees are free to quit their jobs for any reason. You do not have to give your employer an explanation about why you are quitting, although professional etiquette dictates that you notify your employer that you are leaving two weeks before your last day of work. Likewise, your employer can fire you for any reason. In practice, employers usually only fire employees because of misconduct or consistently substandard job performance. Even if you are a superstar employee, your employer still has the right to fire you for any reason, or even for no reason. The legal definition of wrongful termination of employment is much narrower than simply firing an employee who never made a major mistake at work and who needed the job.
Wrongful Termination of Employment as Breach of Contract
Employers and employees have the right to sign employment contracts that guarantee the employee the right to stay at the job for the duration of the contract period, provided that the employee fulfills all of their obligations as specified in the contract. Some employment contracts contain provisions about the procedures for early termination of the contract or, if it is an automatically renewing contract, the procedures for non-renewal, as well as the obligations of the party who decides to end the relationship against the wishes of the other party. If your employer terminated your employment before the end date specified in your employment contract, you might have grounds to sue your employer for breach of contract and to collect damages. You should discuss the situation with an employment lawyer, who may be able to help you and your former employer find a solution without resorting to costly litigation.
Wrongful Termination of Employment as Discrimination
Federal law and Minnesota law, in the form of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Minnesota Human Rights Act respectively, protect workers against employment discrimination. Both laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, pregnancy, or disability. Minnesota state law also prohibits discrimination against employees who are currently receiving public assistance benefits or have received these benefits in the past and against employees who are currently involved with a human rights organization or were previously involved with one.
Wrongful termination of employment is just one of the forms that employment discrimination can take. It can also manifest itself as refusal of promotions or pay raises, unjustifiably negative performance reviews or references, or a hostile work environment characterized by harassment and ill treatment. A Minneapolis employment discrimination lawyer can help you if your employer fired you because of your race, gender, or another legally protected characteristic, or because you complained to human resources about your supervisor’s discrimination against you or against someone else at your workplace.
Wrongful Termination of Employment as Retaliation for a Claim or Complaint
Many instances of wrongful termination of employment as an act of discrimination happen after the employee complains about the discrimination to the human resources department at their company or to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This kind of retaliatory dismissal of employees counts as wrongful termination of employment. The law protects workers from other kinds of retaliatory termination of employment just as it does employees who file formal or informal complaints about employment discrimination and workplace harassment. These are some situations where your employer is not allowed to retaliate against you by terminating your employment:
- Filing a workers’ compensation claim
- Participating in an investigation about discrimination or human rights
- Requesting an accommodation for a disability
- Complaining about non-payment of wages, salary, or overtime pay
- Initiating a qui tam action or other whistleblower claim
If your employer fired you from your job shortly after you complained about discrimination or some other illegal or unethical activity on your employer’s part, it is probably a case of wrongful termination of employment. Your Minnesota employment lawyer can help you seek justice and recover compensation for the financial losses you have suffered because of the wrongful termination of your job.
Contact a Minneapolis Wrongful Termination of Employment Lawyer
It is not too soon to contact an employment lawyer if your employer has unjustly dismissed you from your job. The law protects employees from being fired in retaliation for standing up for what is right and from being fired in violation of their employment contracts. Contact the Minneapolis wrongful termination of employment lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP to set up a consultation.