Whistleblower Law: Increased Protection For Minnesota Employees
On May 24, 2013, Governor Mark Dayton signed HF 542, a bill adding additional protections for whistleblowers. The Minnesota Whistleblower Act (MWA) was originally passed in 1987, and the purpose was to prohibit employers from acting in a retaliatory manner against employees who made a good faith report of any federal or state law or rule adopted pursuant to law. Ambiguities in the language of the statute have allowed for many different interpretations on statutory meaning throughout the years. In Anderson-Johanningmeier v. Mid Minnesota Women’s Center, Inc., the Minnesota Supreme Court dealt with conflicting case law in determining the applicability of a public policy requirement in relation to whistleblower claims. The court concluded that public policy requirement relating to all whistleblower claims was not in accordance with the statutory language. While the additional protections signed into law by Governor Dayton do not deal with the public policy requirement, the additions help to clear up other potential ambiguities within the statute.
HF 542 serves two purposes in aiding the original whistleblower act. First, the new law provides a definitional framework for several key terms that were left for interpretation. Three sections of § 181.931 have terms that are defined in the new law, in an attempt to reduce conflicting interpretations, and to clearly exemplify the laws intent in protection of whistleblowing reports. Second the bill expands the scope reported violations that are protected. (more…)