Last time, we began speaking about the general doctrine of at-will employment and various limitations on the rule from a common law and statutory standpoint. Here in Minnesota, the doctrine of at-will employment is fairly robust, and is only limited by what is deemed illegal grounds for termination. This would include, as mentioned in our last post, termination based on illegal discrimination, retaliation and whistle-blowing.
Although employers in Minnesota do not have to provide a reason for termination of their own accord, they are required by law to give a truthful reason for termination if the employee requests it in writing within 15 days of termination. Once the employer receives the written request, a written response must be provided within 10 working days.
Aside from the basis for termination, it is also important to understand that there is no requirement that an employer give an employee advance notice of termination. The reasons for doing so are typically for the sake of courtesy and ensuring the employee receives any wages and accrued benefits.
In cases where an employee believes he or she has been terminated for illegal reasons, it is important to report to the proper authorities and have the case evaluated by an experienced employment law attorney. In Minnesota, the state Department of Human Resources should be notified of any such suspected activity. In terms of working with an attorney, the important thing will be to establish whether a violation has taken place. In the case of discrimination and retaliation, it isn’t always possible to point to direct evidence of bad intent, so it is often necessary to look at circumstantial evidence.
Whatever the circumstances of the case may be, an experienced attorney can help ensure one’s rights are protected.
Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry, “Labor Standards—Termination,” Accessed Dec. 4, 2015.
Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry, “Labor Standards — Frequently asked questions about termination,” Accessed Dec. 4, 2015.