Minnesota is an at-will employment state. This means that your employer can fire you at any point during your employment without having to provide a reason. If you are fired because your employer doesn’t like the shoes you wore that day, unfortunately, it is not illegal for them to do so.
Protected characteristics and conduct
However, if your employer fires you because of a protected characteristic, or because you participated in a protected activity, you may have a claim for wrongful termination. The Minnesota Human Rights Act defines protected characteristics as a person’s age, color, creed, disability, familial status, marital status, national origin, public assistance status, religion, sex or sexual orientation.
Protected conduct includes many things, such as whistleblowing, participating in an ongoing investigation or filing for workers compensation. Your employer may retaliate by firing you for engaging in one of these activities.
Save all your documents
If you feel you may have a case for wrongful termination, make sure to collect and save any documents related to your employment and termination. Request a copy of your personnel file from your former employer. Minnesota law allows you to make this request one time each year after your termination, and the documents in this file may help you prove a wrongful termination claim.
Collect any owed wages
You are legally allowed to receive any wages from your employer that are still owed to you after your termination. The law states that your employer must pay you the wages within 24 hours of your request, or they must pay you 1 days’ worth of wages for up to 15 days.
These steps are essential for increasing your chance of a successful wrongful termination claim. Every situation is different, and it can be difficult for both employers and employees to understand what must be proven in a wrongful termination lawsuit. It is usually best to seek guidance from a professional.