Every job in Minnesota has a set of requirements that the employees are supposed to complete. Many also have employee handbooks that state the expectations. While workers may sign an acknowledgement that they have received the handbook, this does not necessarily mean they signed an employment contract that promises them continued employment. Most employees are still considered at-will employees.
This means the employees can quit their job at any time for any reason. They do not need to work for a certain period of time before quitting and do not necessarily need to give their bosses advance notice that they are quitting. On the other side of the employment relationship, it also means that employers can fire people for many different reasons and do not need to provide advance notice that they will do so.
Protections for at-will employees
While employers have a lot of freedom to terminate at-will employees, there are some restrictions. They cannot illegally discriminate against them. Under federal and Minnesota law, this means that they cannot fire them based on their race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability or membership in other protected classes. If employers do discriminate against the employee, they could be required to compensate them for back pay the employee lost as a result of the termination, as well as other damages depending on the circumstances.
Minnesota law also provides rules about how quickly employers need to pay their employees their final check after termination. Employers are also obligated to pay terminated employees for any unpaid benefits such as unused vacation time.
Being an at-will employee in Minnesota gives people the freedom to quickly move on to a different job if the current one is not the right fit. However, it also provides less guarantee about how long they will have the job.
At-will employees still have protections against discrimination and must be paid for all hours worked and paid for the benefits they accrued. Experienced attorneys understand employee rights and may be able to help protect them.