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

What Does an Illegal Termination Look like in Minnesota?

Getting fired from your job can be frustrating and stressful because you’re not sure where you’ll be hired next or if you’ll be able to keep paying your bills. You might think you were wrongfully terminated by being fired without notice, but Minnesota is an at-will employment state. This means that employers can fire an employee at any time as long as their reason is legal.

man in empty room looking outside in reflection

If you were fired, you can request your former employer to give you the truthful reason in writing so that you can have proof of their reasoning for firing you and so that you can ensure it is legal. While there are many reasons that an employer can fire their employee that are legal, there are some that are illegal and make it a wrongful termination.

Wrongful Termination in Minnesota

The only reason that a termination is illegal in Minnesota is if you were fired for a reason that is discriminatory. Minnesota Statute protects human rights to ensure that you cannot face discrimination based on any of these factors:

  1. Race

  2. Color

  3. Creed

  4. Sex

  5. Religion

  6. National Origin

  7. Ancestry

  8. Disability

  9. Sexual Orientation

  10. Marital Status

  11. Pregnancy

After being fired, there’s a possibility that it was for a valid reason, but you might be suspicious that you were fired for one of the reasons listed above. This could be new behavior from your former employer, or if you were facing discrimination before your termination, you might be even more suspicious that they fired you for an illegal reason.

If you don’t think you were fired for a legal reason, then you could use legal help. An employment lawyer could help you determine your options and figure out whether or not your termination was wrongful. There are some steps you should take after a wrongful termination so that you can hold your former employer accountable for their illegal actions.

What to Do After Illegal Termination

The first thing you should do when you feel like you’ve been wrongfully terminated is to request that your employer provides you with the reason in writing. You only have 15 days after being fired to make that request, and then your employer only has 10 days from your request to complete the written explanation.

Once you get the written reason, you might feel differently about your termination. Maybe their reasoning is valid, and you no longer suspect discrimination, which would mean you could choose to accept the termination. If you receive the written reason and still suspect discrimination, then you will want to proceed with the steps.

Even if your employer gave a legal reason for your firing, you might still feel as though it was really for an illegal reason. That’s when you’ll need to file a complaint through the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. You can fill out the online form to report discrimination here within one year from the date you were wrongfully fired.

From there, the department will look at your description of what happened to determine whether or not your human rights were violated based on Minnesota law. If you were discriminated against, then you’ll file a charge of discrimination through the department. After that, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights will perform a fact-finding investigation.

There is a process after the investigation to reach a resolution and get you justice for what you experienced. There are multiple times when the case could be closed throughout the process where you can get the outcome you want. If you feel the conclusion is wrong, you’ll need to file an appeal.

You can go through this entire process on your own, but you shouldn’t have to. When you hire an employment lawyer, you can rest assured that your rights are being protected and can feel more confident in your claim.

I Can Fight for You

After getting fired from your job on short notice or without any notice at all, you could be wondering what you did to deserve being terminated. If you don’t think you did anything to warrant being fired, and it’s based on discrimination, then you could use the help of a Minnesota employment lawyer.

I am dedicated to getting my clients the justice that they deserve for their wrongful terminations. I can guide you through the complaint and charge process and ensure that your rights are protected every step of the way. Reach out today so I can help you through this difficult time.


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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