When an employee is hired in Minnesota, unless the employer and the employee enter into an oral or written employment agreement or a collective bargaining agreement specifying otherwise, that employee is employed “at-will,” which means the employer can discharge the employee at any time for any lawful reason and the employee can quit at any time for any reason. (Restrictions on an employer’s ability to terminate an at will employee are discussed later in this Guide.) During the hiring process, however, if employers are not cautious, inadvertent contracts can be formed with new employees, and unnecessary information may be elicited from applicants which could later form the basis of a discrimination charge if the applicant is not hired. By keeping these two areas (contracts and discrimination) in mind during the hiring process, employers may avoid a great deal of liability after the hiring process is complete.
During the hiring process, employers also should keep in mind the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), which prohibits disability discrimination during hiring. For example, an employer may not reject a job applicant due to the possible risk of future injury to that applicant or due to the risk that the employer may incur higher insurance costs if the applicant is hired. The ADA applies to employers with 15 or more employees and will be discussed in detail in the Disability Discrimination section of this Guide.
CREDITS: This post is an excerpt from An Employer’s Guide to Employment Law Issues in Minnesota, originally produced through a collaborative effort between the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and Lindquist & Vennum, P.L.L.P.
This post is part of a series of posts on hiring an employee in Minnesota.