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Posts from Joshua Newville, a Minnesota employment lawyer, civil rights attorney, and mediator.

How Are Employment Laws Enforced in Minnesota?

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You should feel safe in your workplace. That’s why employment laws are in place. They protect your rights and ensure that you are protected when you face discrimination or harassment at your job. Whether it’s your employer, coworker, or a contracted third party, you might experience discrimination or harassment that breaks employment law.

When that happens, you probably will want to know what will be done about what you’ve gone through. Let’s take a look at what happens when you report a violation of Minnesota employment laws.

Enforcement of MN Employment Laws

If you suspect or know that your employer has broken the law with how they have treated you, or the way another employee treated you and they didn’t react properly, then you should file a complaint with the Minneapolis City Hall. You can find an online report form here for a violation. If you’re not in the Minneapolis area, then you should file a report with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.

After that, an investigation will ensue to determine whether or not your report was accurate and if your employer broke the law. If they are found to be guilty, then Minnesota’s employment laws will need to be enforced.

First, the Department of Human Rights will issue a report of their findings about the practices of the employer. If the employer is found to be compliant and make changes after the complaint and they resolve what happened, then they likely won’t be penalized. However, if they don’t make any changes and stand by what they did, then they will face penalties and fines.

Some of the penalties that might be enforced are:

  1. Backpay for you, but multiplied by two

  2. Reinstatement of employment

  3. Repayment for enforcement costs

  4. Administrative fines

If that’s not found to be punishment enough, or the business doesn’t follow through with their sanctions, then their business license could be revoked. They could receive other sanctions as well to further punish them for their crimes. Each situation is different and warrants different punishment, so it’s hard to say exactly what would happen.

That’s why it’s helpful to have an employment lawyer on your side—they’ll be able to inform you of what’s happening every step of the way. They’ll also ensure your rights are protected and the correct actions are being taken.

State Employment Laws

While you’re going through the process of reporting a complaint against your employer and waiting for laws to be enforced, it’s important to brush up on some Minnesota employment laws so that you have a better understanding of what happened to you and how it broke the law. Here are some of the most important employment rights that you should know as a worker in Minnesota:

  1. You must make at least minimum wage per hour for all hours that you work.

  2. At minimum, you must be allowed to use the nearest bathroom once every four hours.

  3. If you work eight consecutive hours or more, you must be given the time to eat a meal.

  4. If you work overtime, you must be paid one and a half times your usual wage.

  5. You have the right to a safe workplace that is compliant with OSHA standards.

  6. If you’re hurt on the job, you’re entitled to workers’ compensation.

  7. Your workplace must be free of all physical and sexual harassment, as well as free from discrimination of any kind.

You might be unsure if your rights were violated. If you don’t see what happened to you listed above, that doesn’t mean that you didn’t face an infringement of your employment rights. An employment lawyer could help you determine if what you faced broke Minnesota employment laws, and if you can take legal action against your employer.


Joshua Newville is a Minnesota employment lawyer, civil rights attorney, and mediator. Josh litigates and advises on such matters as wrongful termination, whistleblowers, discrimination, police misconduct, and more. He offers paid legal consultations and free online case reviews regarding employment law and civil rights.

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