Employment law is a broad subject area that includes: wrongful termination, severance, sexual harassment, workplace discrimination, hostile work environment, whistleblower protections, wage and hour regulations, medical leave, retaliation, and more.
Minnesota Employment Law Attorney
Employment laws are complicated and often changing. I can help bring clarity, direction, and sense to employment disputes. I advise and advocate for those who seek to be fair and honorable in the employment relationship, including: employees, employers, executives, and entrepreneurs. I practice in state and federal court in Minnesota and beyond.
What Are Employee Rights?
In addition to any contracts an employee may have with their employer directly or through a union, employment rights are guaranteed by state and federal law. For example:
Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Laws
Various state and federal laws prohibit employment discrimination, which can include hostile work environment, sexual harassment, and wrongful termination. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits state and federal governments and employers from unlawfully discriminating based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and national origin. The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act prohibit irrational discrimination based on disability. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits certain age discrimination. Many state and local laws, such as the Minnesota Human Rights Act, also prohibit employers from unlawfully discriminating against employees.
Anti-Retaliation and Whistleblower Protection Laws
There are many laws that prohibit employers from unlawfully retaliating (including wrongful termination) against employees who engage in legally protected conduct. For example, anti-discrimination laws also prohibit employers from retaliating against people who complain about violations of those laws. Employers are also barred from retaliating against employees who "blow the whistle" on other kinds of illegal conduct. Furthermore, taking medical leave, pursuing workers' compensation benefits, and opposing unlawful wage practices are additional examples of protected conduct for which an employer may not retaliate. A number of laws also provide monetary incentives to whistleblowers who expose fraud.
Laws Regarding Wages and Benefits
There are a tapestry of federal, state, and local laws that regulate how employers must pay employees and provide certain benefits. These laws can vary significantly by state and even by city, and also depend on the size of the employer. They govern minimum wage, tips, overtime, salary v. hourly classification, employee v. independent contractor classification, time off of work for medical and other reasons, health insurance, and more. Employers who run afoul of these laws can face significant monetary liability, including being required to pay interest and penalties to dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of employees.
Constitutional Protections for Government Employees
Provisions of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution protect government employees from being unlawfully discriminated against and/or having their job taken without due process of law. The First Amendment also guarantees certain freedom of speech and provides protection against retaliation by government employers.