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Minnesota employee rights regarding speech in and out of work

Effective communication is key in many positions and fields throughout Minnesota and the entire country. Whether employees work in an office, on a construction site or from the comfort of their own home, professional standards for dialogue and conduct are typically maintained. However, many workers are finding that personal and professional boundaries blur, as employees can be held accountable for comments they make outside of the workplace. Therefore, it’s helpful for everyone employed in Minnesota to understand what types of communication are protected against employer retaliation.

The important thing to remember is that Minnesota is one of 48 states that have at-will employment policies. That means that unless an employee is mistreated or discriminated against illegally, they may not be able to contest their dismissal. It also means that employers can fire workers based on certain things they say and do on their own time.

Political views and speech are not typically protected. While everyone is entitled to their own opinions and beliefs, voicing those opinions can make them vulnerable to scrutiny and professional repercussions. And while most employers may respect their workers’ personal views, others can act on their own conflicting beliefs.

That is not to imply, however, that everything said or written out of work can be used against workers. In fact, Minnesota workers do have the right to complain about their job in many instances. Employees can openly critique issues relevant to their working conditions. For example, coworkers can discuss topics like safety concerns and pay rates. And some may be surprised to learn they have the right to do so via social media as well.  

Ultimately, workers have the right to seek legal counsel in any event they suspect they’ve been victimized by discrimination or wrongful termination.      

Source: Source: CBS Minnesota, “Good Question: Can You Be Fired For Off-The-Job Comments?” Jason DeRusha, May 6, 2013

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