Unlawful employment practices include discrimination based on age, race, and gender, as well as sexual harassment. They also include an employer that takes action against employees who retaliate against or deny leave that falls under the Minnesota Parental Leave Law (MPLL) or the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Action must be taken against these employers, as well as employers that retaliate against an employee when discrimination has been reported or when an employee blows the whistle on improper or illegal conduct within the company.
The most effective way in which workplaces can be relieved of illegal activities is to hold the employers accountable for their actions. There are a number of areas that fall under the category of illegal actions. They are:
Because Minnesota is an at-will state, an employer has the right to fire an employee for any reason at any time. The exceptions, however, involve when a contract is in place that states an employer cannot fire without cause, a handbook or policy that limits the firing abilities of the employer, a collective bargaining agreement through your union, public policy conflicts, and discrimination or retaliation. When wrongfully terminated, your Minnesota employment lawyer can initiate and follow through with legal action against the employer, citing financial damages that have resulted from that wrongful termination.
FMLA requires employers to allow employees with job-protected unpaid leave that allows them to care for themselves or immediate family members through a serious illness. The leave period is 12 weeks and also includes caring for a newborn, adopted, or foster child. Employees are eligible to take leave when they have been employed with the employer for 12 months, worked at least 1,250 hours during that 12 months, and work at a site where there are 50 or more employees employed within a 75 mile radius of that site. Employees that take leave are to be reinstated to their positions when they return to work.
Failure to reinstate an employee or discriminate against them in any way is a violation of FMLA and possesses penalties. Taking leave also cannot interfere with a prospective promotion. If so, legal action can be taken.
Discrimination involves treating someone differently because of their color, race, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status, age, receipt of public assistance, physical or mental disability, or religion. Derogatory comments, racial slurs, prejudice expressions, verbal abuse, reprimands, or termination based on that person’s differences can be regarded as discrimination and also falls into the category of harassment because the conduct is unwanted.
If an individual is given a derogatory job review despite their good performance, this is considered discrimination. In the case of disability, failure to accommodate the employee’s disability, unless the employer would experience a hardship, is considered disability discrimination.
An individual who reports unlawful or improper activities within a business is a whistleblower and Minnesota and federal law prevents an employer from retaliating against that individual. Employers also cannot retaliate when an employee brings a discrimination lawsuit against them. Retaliation can include demotion, reassignment to a difficult work task, termination, or withholding a promotion.
We will defend your rights and seek damages from the employer to compensate you for lost wages and other losses that you may have experienced. We work on a contingent basis, which means we don’t get paid unless you do. Call us toll free at (612) 294-2200 (Minneapolis), (651) 777-1811 (St. Paul), or complete our online form and stand up for your rights.