The employee handbook has become an essential part of the workplace. It is an efficient and effective way for the employer to set out the rules and expectations that employees are expected to follow. It is also a helpful resource for employees to reference if they are uncertain of workplace rules. Additionally, it is much
Minnesota At-Will Employment Attorney
Note: Our Minnesota employment attorneys represent companies and executives.
Minnesota At-Will Employment Attorney
Most employers hire employees without an employment contract that defines a specific length of employment or circumstances justifying employment. This type of employment is called “at-will.” It is at the will of each party. The employer may fire the employee at any time and for almost any reason, excluding prohibited discrimination and retaliation. Likewise, the employee may generally quit at any time, for any reason.
When hiring employees, it is important for employers to determine if the position is at-will and note this in writing. If this is the case, the employer has the authority to terminate employees at any time, for almost any reason. However, all employees are protected under state and federal laws that make certain reasons for firing illegal.
While you do not need an at-will agreement, often employers can refuse to hire a person for refusal to sign the at-will employment agreement.
Even if an employee is an employee at-will, the employee cannot be terminated for an unlawful reason. Listed below are many of the unlawful reasons that may give rise to an employee having a legitimate claim against you, the employer:
- Unlawfully discriminating against an employee by terminating the employee due to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, physical or mental disability, receipt of public assistance, and age.
- Retaliation for whistle blowing – Minnesota law protects an employee who, in good faith, reports a violation or suspected violation of any federal or state law or rule adopted pursuant to law to an employer or to any governmental body or law enforcement official. Minn. Stat. §181.932.
- Retaliation for the employee’s complaining to the employer or a government agency (such as the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry) that the employer failed to pay the employee minimum wage and overtime in accordance with the federal and Minnesota wage and hour laws.
- Retaliation for filing a claim of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR).
- Retaliation for a reporting an incidence of sexual harassment to the employer or the EEOC or the MDHR.
- In some states, the law implies a covenant of good faith and fair dealing in employment relationships. Minnesota, among many other states, has not generally this implied covenant.
Some terminated employees mention Minnesota is a “right to work state” and mistakenly believe this gives them a right to their job. Right-to-Work laws are not related to wrongful termination. Right-to-Work laws relate to unions and “open shops” and prohibit agreements between labor unions and employers making membership or payment of union dues or fees a condition of employment, either before or after hiring.
Terminating a C-Level Employee
An employee is presumed to be an at-will employee if there is “an employment agreement with no definite expiration date.” Rosenberg v. Heritage Renovations, LLC, 685 N.W. 2d 320, 326 (Minn. 2004). As an at-will employee, “either party may terminate the contract at any time for any reason.” Bakker v. Metropolitan Pediatric, P.A., 355 N.W.2d
Avoid Confusion in Wage & Hour Claims: Minnesota Statute § 181.13
It is inevitable: every employer is eventually going to have to discharge an employee. What many employers do not realize is that the employee can immediately demand all wages or commissions earned up to the date of termination. Even when employers have established a biweekly, semimonthly, or monthly payroll, they have only 24 hours to
Wrongful Termination in Minnesota
When someone is fired from a job, it is a normal reaction to think about whether or not he or she was terminated wrongfully. In Minnesota, there are laws in place that protect employees from being fired for unjust reasons. Minnesota is considered an “at will” state, which means that any employer may fire an
Was My Firing Illegal? | Minnesota Employment Law
The nature and scope of the employment relationship may be determined by the employer and employee, through a contract, or left to the default rule under the law. The default rule is that employment is “at-will.” At-will means that the employee is free to quit at any time, just up and leave, without explanation and
Who Can Be Terminated, When, and Why?
Employment may be governed by a contract or, if none exists, basic rules of law. These basic rules have existed for centuries and provide an understanding of what will happen without a contract. Unless there is an employment contract or agreement, employment in Minnesota is “at-will.” This means that either the employer or the employee