Minnesota Employment Law: Wrongful Termination

When one loses a job for any reason, it can leave one feeling frustrated and dejected after going through this experience. It does not matter if one found out about the termination through a letter or if there was a conversation in an office, no one likes to be fired. There will be times when a person will truly believe the termination was wrongful and the process was unfair.

Every state has its own laws regarding wrongful termination. In Minnesota, employees work at will. What does this mean? This means that an employee can essentially be fired at any time for any reason, or no reason. However, there are multiple exceptions to the at-will rule.

Unfortunately, there are people who are unaware that there are some employers that use illegal actions when it comes to firing employees. Did your employer take illegal actions when firing you or other employees? There is a chance that your employer acted unlawfully when terminating you.

If this is what happened, can you file a lawsuit for wrongful termination? It is important to know that wrongful termination does not always equate to unlawful termination. How can you determine if your firing was wrongful?

There are several circumstances when a person is fired in violation of one or more than one law. When this is the case, the terminations are deemed both unlawful and wrongful. In cases where the termination was wrongful and unlawful, an employee has the right to sue his or her former employer.

According to the Minnesota Humans Rights Act, an employee cannot be terminated based on religion, race, origin, familial status, sexual orientation, and more. The Minnesota Humans Rights Acts(MHRA) mentions sex and familial status because it serves as protection for women who are pregnant. Under this act, sex is a protected class, and it is illegal for women to be treated differently because of their gender and their ability to become pregnant.

This act also states that an employee may not be fired or be retaliated against for exercising his or her right. Even if the employee was not fired under a motive that was unlawful, the termination could be in breach of the contract that was signed.

Breach of Contract

When you started the job you were recently fired from, you entered a contractual agreement with the employer at the time. The contract you signed at the time may have contained some clauses and terms that explained policies of termination and the length of time you could be employed. If the employer failed to comply with the contractual agreement that was signed, there is a good chance you were wrongfully terminated.

Law Violation

There are federal employment laws, local employment laws, and state employment laws that are in place to ensure there will not be any illegal activities taking place within the workplace. When it comes to terminating an employee, an employer cannot violate any of the laws that have been established federally, locally, and statewide. For instance, an employee cannot be terminated for taking a leave of absence for medical reasons or personal reasons if those reasons are part of the federal law. Also, one cannot be terminated for performing his/her civic duty in court on a jury.

Employment Discrimination

Unfortunately, discrimination happens far too often in the world, including the workplace. Fortunately, there are laws in place that will protect you if you are ever terminated for reasons you believe were discriminatory. You cannot be denied a job because of your sexual orientation, gender, race, etc., and the same holds true when it comes to termination. You cannot be terminated from a job in any way that is discriminatory.

Many former employees have been fired for a variety of reasons they did not understand. There are some employers who make the decision to terminate an employee due to the actions an employee made, such as the following:

  • The employee became a whistleblower
  • Leaving due to pregnancy
  • Asking to be compensated due to an injury that occurred in the workplace
  • Reported any form of harassment that occurred in the workplace

Minnesota is an “at-will” employment state. What does this mean? This means that an employer can fire someone for any reason as long as the reason is not an illegal reason. Even if the former employee feels that the termination was done unfairly or was a bad practice, if the employee was not fired illegally, the employer has not broken a law.

Providing an answer to the question: “Can I sue for wrongful termination in Minnesota?” is not simple. There are several factors that play a part in determining the answer, such as the motivation of the former employer and any contractual obligations that existed. There will need to be a full evaluation of all the factors in order to accurately determine if the employee has a legal claim.

If enough evidence exists to prove that an employee was fired wrongfully and unlawfully, it will certainly be worth it to move forward and pursue a legal claim. A Minnesota employment lawyer can provide assistance by sorting through all the facts and making an assessment of the strength of the claim.

It does not matter if you want to make an attempt to get your job back, negotiate a severance package, or file a claim in court, the right Minnesota employment lawyer can discuss all of your options and help you make the best decision.

We understand that after losing a job you are searching for honest answers. We are sorry that you have found yourself in this frustrating and overwhelming position. We know it can be difficult to determine if you have a case when it comes to wrongful determination, and this is why we encourage you to reach out to Villaume & Schiek with your questions and concerns.

Do you believe you were terminated by your previous employer wrongfully and illegally? We would love to speak with you and give you our honest assessment of what we think. We want to make sure you are aware of all of your options and what may lie ahead if it is determined that you have a case. 


Disclaimer: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individualsituation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.