John A. Klassen, P.A.
612-217-4988 877-390-4527

Minneapolis Wrongful Termination Law Blog

Understanding whistleblower protection and workplace violations

When employees in Minnesota witness or believe there is a violation in the workplace, they should be able to speak out or report these violations. Our firm understands that it can be a difficult decision to report an employer, but employees should understand their rights regarding whistleblower protection. These protections or rights have been put in place in order to promote such opposition or reporting of workplace violations. Employees should be aware of these rights so they feel comfortable taking action to protect their and their coworkers' well-being.

In many situations, it is considered a heroic action when employees take a stance to oppose or report their employer for violations of state or federal laws. While some employees are fearful that their employer will retaliate if they discover they took action, whistleblower rights help protect employees in these situations.

What rights does the whistleblower protection act provide?

For the most part, employees in Minnesota are able to get through the work day and the work year without any major negative events occurring in the workplace. But when a violation occurs in the work environment and an employee is aware of it, he or she should feel comfortable in reporting the incident. Furthermore, if one does speak out about the violation one experienced the employer sometimes retaliates. Some employees question whether they have any recourse in this situation.

What rights does the whistleblower protection act provide employers? According to the Whistleblower Protection Program, the act includes more than 20 statutes that protect employees that report violations occurring in the workplace. Specifically, it protects employees from discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination for the adverse action they have taken against the known violations of their employers.

Civil rights violations and addressing workplace discrimination

It is important that individuals in Minnesota and other states across the nation understand their rights. When an employee faces workplace discrimination, they should understand that this is a civil rights violation. Employment discrimination could cause serious damage to the employee, and they should understand how to address the issue properly.

Recently, the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights spoke at a community forum. He spoke about and highlighted the efforts of the state to achieve both equality and inclusion in the workplace and other areas such as health care, state government practices as well as procurement practices. An important part of his presentation was the commissioner's discussing ways to deal with these forms of discrimination and causes of action available to the victims of discrimination.

Combating disability discrimination and filing a civil action

While it is common for people with disabilities to become comfortable with their temporary or permanent disabilities, those dealing with disabilities should never become comfortable with enduring discrimination or harassment in the work environment due to their disabilities. Our firm understands the seriousness of employment discrimination in the workplace and seeks to assist Minnesota employees when these events occur. Getting a better understanding of their situation and rights can help employees deal with these events and even file a cause of action for the damages that they have suffered as a result.

When an employee is combating disability discrimination, he or she should understand that this treatment is illegal. This occurs most frequently when an employer is not allowing an employee to take time off to seek treatment for his or her disability, fails to make reasonable accommodations in the work environment for the disability or harasses the employee due to his or her disability.

Making a claim of wrongful termination in Minnesota

Employees in Minnesota might encounter bad days at work, but that does not mean that they should not address any issues they experience in the work environment. If an employee discovers unlawful treatment such as employment discrimination, it is important that they take note of these events and call attention to the appropriate group or person. In some matters, when an employee speaks out or is unfairly treated, they could lose their job through firing or layoff due to employer retaliation. If a job termination is not done properly or is carried out based on discrimination, the employee might have a claim for wrongful termination.

To begin, employees should note why a wrongful discharge is unlawful. If an employee is fired or laid off due to personal characteristics such as age, race or disability, this may violate state and federal anti-discrimination laws. Other illegal reasons for termination could also relate to sexual harassment, violation of employment agreements, violation of labor laws or firing an employee based on retaliation.

How do you address sexual harassment in the work environment?

Being comfortable in the work environment is important to employees in Minnesota. Working in a safe, healthy and fair work environment is not only conducive to productivity but also protects the rights of the employees. When a supervisor or co-worker oversteps these lines, an employee could suffer greatly. In severe situations the harassment is so pervasive a hostile work environment is created. Sexual harassment creates a very uncomfortable situation and this violation of civil rights could lead to serious damages for the employee experiencing it.

Sexual harassment can range from inappropriate jokes or comments to an unwanted sexual advance. If a supervisor or manager makes promotion, work assignments or continued employment conditional on an employee providing sexual favors, it is called quid pro quo sexual harassment.

Understanding employee rights when whistleblowing

When an employee notices or experiences their employer violating state or federal laws, the employee could speak out and report these violations. While it is important to report these instances, our firm understands that not all employees will speak out about the injustices they experience. Because an employee might fear losing their job or employer retaliation, whistleblower rights have been established. Employees in Minnesota should feel comfortable reporting these instances and taking legal action to protect their rights and the rights of others.

Whether they are directly experiencing these violations or they observe a violation, an employee should understand that they could take action. If retaliation is experienced after a whistleblowing instance, this could be considered a violation of the employee's rights. This could be a violation of the Minnesota Whistleblower Act as well as federal law.

What does age discrimination look like?

Obtaining or maintaining a position at any age can be a momentous event for any employee in Minnesota and states across the nation. Due to the improving economy, some residents do not struggle trying to find adequate employment. While it might be easier to find a job these days, there are still hurdles and pitfalls when trying to find a well-paying job. For some, the individual's age might deter them from applying for some positions, but age should never be a factor in an employer's decision to hire or fire an employee. Age discrimination is a form of employment discrimination that not only prevents some potential employees from receiving a job, but it could also lead to wrongful termination.

In order to understand whether an individual is a victim of age discrimination, it is important to understand what forms this type of discrimination could take. First, age discrimination should be defined. While it is often described as treating either an applicant or an employee unfairly or less favorably due to their age, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) disallows discrimination against those individuals who are 40-years-old or older. This means that the Act does not cover those who are younger than 40. However, some states have implemented legislation aimed at protecting those under the age of 40 from discrimination as well.

Settlement reached in Kluwe's case against the Vikings

Losing a job can be a devastating and emotional event in an individual's life. In some situations, a person might be fired or let go due to poor performance, budget cuts or improper behavior in the work environment. Although it is not an uncommon occurrence for a person to lose their job, it could happen for unlawful reasons. A wrongful termination could be linked to employment discrimination and an employee could lose their job due to a personal characteristic they embody.

Much media has surrounded the release of Chris Kluwe from the Minnesota Vikings due to his support for same-sex marriages. It was recently reported that the parties involved in the suit intend to announce that a settlement has been reached, however, it has not been confirmed that a settlement has been finalized.

Understanding the signs of employment discrimination

Even when residents in Minnesota find a job that they really love, they still deal with the natural ups and downs involved with having a career. Some of these events might make them temporarily dislike their jobs or even co-workers or their employers. While it is common to have bad days at work, employees should note that there are certain occurrences in the workplace that should not be tolerated. Specifically, employment discrimination should not be overlooked and it is important to note the signs of it.

Because some employees do not speak out about employment discrimination or they simply do not know how to recognize it, there are some common signs. It is also important to note that forms of discrimination can occur in different ways and manners and are often defined as the unfavorable treatment of an employee due to his or her race, gender, disability, religion or age.

Defending the Civil Rights of Vulnerable People

When employers discriminate or allow harassment and retaliation to take place or continue, we are dedicated to holding them accountable for their unlawful actions.

Office Location & Contacts
John A. Klassen, PA
10 South Fifth Street
700 Lumber Exchange
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Phone: 612-217-4988
Toll Free: 877-390-4527
Fax number: 612-204-4534