If you are experiencing discrimination or any type of workplace violation, you may feel overwhelmed and alone. But you don’t have to face these challenges by yourself. A Minneapolis employment lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and fight for fair treatment in the workplace.
At our employment law firm, we understand the stress and emotional toll that employment disputes can take on individuals and their families. That’s why we make it our mission to provide compassionate legal representation to every client we serve.
With years of experience helping employees throughout Minneapolis, our employment lawyers can provide the support and guidance you need to recover the compensation you qualify for in your case.
Wrongful Termination Claims in Minneapolis, MN
Minnesota is an at-will employment state. In other words, as long as it’s not unlawful, your employer is free to terminate you for any reason, including one that’s inaccurate, unjust, or unethical.
When dismissing workers, employers frequently make errors or poor business judgments. However, even if your employer’s activities are improper, arbitrary, or detrimental to their business, they haven’t breached the law unless they decide to terminate your employment for an unlawful cause.
These cases are referred to as wrongful termination claims by employment attorneys.
At our firm, we use “wrongful termination” as shorthand for our clients because most of the illegal reasons for termination that form the basis for a lawsuit are: discrimination, retaliation, and whistleblowing.
The following table illustrates several illegal reasons for termination in Minneapolis, MN:
|Illegal Act||Laws and Protections||Examples of Illegal Acts|
|Discrimination||The Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) states that the Minnesota Human Rights Act and federal laws prohibit discrimination based on race, age, sex, disability, sexual orientation, and other protected classes.||Refusing to hire someone because of their sexual orientation.|
|Retaliation or Reprisal||Minnesota and federal laws prevent employees from experiencing retaliation when they report unlawful discrimination.||Firing an employee for reporting age discrimination against them.|
|Retaliation for Whistleblowing||Federal and state laws shield whistleblower employees from retaliation if they report unlawful conduct.||Firing an employee for reporting company misconduct or illegal activity.|
|Retaliation for Using Medical Leave||FMLA allows eligible employees up to 90 days of medical leave, and it is illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who exercise their rights.||Firing an employee for taking FMLA leave to care for their child.|
|Workers’ Compensation Retaliation||Minnesota law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who file a workers’ compensation claim.||Firing an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim or reporting a workplace injury.|
|Pregnancy Discrimination||State and federal laws prohibit pregnancy discrimination in employment. This is a form of both gender discrimination and disability discrimination.||Refusing to hire a woman because she is pregnant or firing a woman after she becomes pregnant.|
More About the Key Types of Employment Discrimination in Minneapolis, MN
As stated in the table above, employment discrimination claims can arise from various forms of unfair treatment based on disability, race, sex or gender, and age.
Understanding the nuances of each type of discrimination can help employees recognize when their rights have been violated and seek legal recourse.
The following list is a brief overview of these key types of employment discrimination.
- Disability: In terms of disability, you cannot be barred from employment for having a disability if you can perform your job duties with help from your employer.
- Race discrimination: Race discrimination is prohibited in employment under state and federal law. An employee’s race can’t even be a “motivating factor,” which means even 1% of the reason for an employment decision.
- Sex or gender discrimination: Sex or gender discrimination is also prohibited in employment under state and federal law. Employers may not make hiring, firing, promotion, or pay decisions based on an employee’s gender.
- Age discrimination: Age discrimination is a significant concern, particularly during layoff decisions. Our lawyers have observed that employers may disproportionately target older employees, specifically, those aged 40 or 50 and above, when faced with the need to reduce their workforce. This form of discrimination is unlawful, and affected employees have the right to seek legal remedies to protect their interests and rights in the workplace.
For a legal consultation with a employment lawyer serving Minneapolis, call 612-349-2729
Understanding Minneapolis Hostile Working Environment Claims
A hostile work environment claim can be made against your employer even if you haven’t been fired. However, it’s important to recognize that having a rude or unfair boss doesn’t qualify for a lawsuit.
Legally, there is no requirement for kindness in the workplace. To establish a claim, the hostile work environment must be rooted in discrimination.
Discrimination-Based Hostile Work Environment
Claims such as sexual harassment, age, race, sexual orientation, disability, and gender-based discrimination may constitute a hostile work environment.
For a claim to be successful in Minnesota, attorneys must provide evidence that the harassment is directly linked to one of these protected categories, creating a hostile and unwelcoming atmosphere for you.
Minneapolis Employment Lawyer Near Me 612-349-2729
Addressing Minimum Wage and Unpaid Overtime Violations
Minnesota and federal laws mandate that employers pay their employees a minimum wage and provide overtime compensation at a rate of time and a half for any extra hours worked.
Retaliation against employees who report unlawful wage and hour practices is also prohibited, according to state and federal Labor Standards Acts.
Understanding State and Federal Minimum Wage Differences
There are discrepancies between state and federal minimum wage laws. For example, in Minnesota, large employers must pay a minimum wage of $10.59 an hour, while small employers must pay $8.63 an hour. In contrast, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
Minneapolis employers must pay the higher of the two rates, which is the state’s minimum wage.
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Tackling Illegal Paycheck Deductions
Minnesota law prohibits employers from making unlawful deductions from employees’ paychecks.
If your employer has deducted money from your paycheck for reasons such as property damage or company debt, you may have a valid unlawful deduction claim that our experienced Minneapolis employment attorneys can assist you with.
Recognizing Off-the-Clock Work and Overtime Violations
Employers must pay employees for all hours worked, and expecting employees to work “off the clock” is illegal. Despite this, supervisors may pressure employees into performing additional work due to their friendly work relationship.
Navigating Federal and State Overtime Requirements
Employers must adhere to federal and Minnesota state labor laws, including paying time and a half for any hours worked over 40 per week (federal) or 48 hours (state).
If your employer fails to comply with these regulations, our Minnesota employment lawyers can file an overtime wage claim on your behalf.
Handling Collective and Class Action Wage and Hour Claims
Employment law attorneys often file wage, overtime, or unlawful deduction claims as collective or class actions to represent all affected employees.
Our Minnesota employment lawyers can help employees in cases where employers withhold paychecks, force employees to work outside of scheduled hours or fail to provide proper overtime or minimum wage compensation.
Ways Our Legal Team Could Prove Your Claim
It is uncommon for an employer to acknowledge that it fired an employee for discriminatory reasons. Typically, even if the discriminatory behavior towards an employee was based on age, race, disability, gender, or sexual orientation, the employer will fabricate and present an alternative, non-discriminatory explanation for the termination.
For instance, the employer can state that the employee was terminated due to inadequate job performance. However, to succeed in a legal claim of wrongful termination or discrimination, it is necessary to demonstrate that the employer’s explanation is a pre-textual rationale used to avoid revealing the unlawful reason for the termination.
Uncovering Employer Pretexts in Minneapolis Discrimination Cases
Our experienced employment attorneys utilize various strategies to reveal pretexts in discriminatory workplace situations on behalf of employees in Minneapolis. First, we can provide evidence that the employer’s rationale is erroneous.
Challenging Employer’s Rationale with Evidence
We can present evidence that contradicts the employer’s provided reasoning. This may include showcasing a history of excellent performance reviews when an employer claims they fired an employee for poor performance.
This creates a factual inquiry for a jury to determine if the employer’s motive is genuine or a pretext to hide illegal discrimination.
Comparing Treatment of Similarly Situated Employees
We can further challenge the employer’s rationale by highlighting inconsistencies in the treatment of similarly situated employees.
If an employer cites poor performance as the reason for termination but retains employees with comparable or worse evaluations, we create another factual dispute for the jury to examine.
Gathering Evidence for Hostile Work Environment Claims in Minneapolis
To prove these claims, our legal team collects evidence demonstrating the mistreatment employees face. We start by establishing that the hostility was based on age, race, sex, disability, or sexual orientation.
We use testimony, comments, drawings, emails, or other relevant evidence to support the claim of discriminatory maltreatment.
Demonstrating Employer’s Failure To Address Issues
The next step is to show that the employee informed management about the problem, but no appropriate measure was taken. For instance, if an employee experiences unwanted sexual comments from coworkers, they must notify their supervisor promptly.
If nothing is done, this highlights the employer’s negligence in addressing the situation, which can strengthen the employee’s claim.
Holding Employers Accountable for Inaction
While employers are not automatically responsible for their employee’s actions, they become liable if they are informed of harassment and fail to take corrective measures.
If an employee reports harassment and the employer fails to respond appropriately, the employee has a solid foundation for a hostile work environment claim against the employer.
Proving Wage and Hour Violations in Minneapolis
These claims may be easier to prove than discrimination claims. This is because there is no obligation to establish an employer’s intent, which requires demonstrating their thinking process.
Rather, we need to prove an employee was working for a specific number of hours they were not properly compensated for, or the employer made illegal deductions from their paychecks.
Assessing Paychecks and Timesheets for Discrepancies
Our legal team will start by reviewing your paychecks and timesheets to identify any discrepancies. Keeping track of any off-the-clock hours is essential, as they can be difficult to prove if your employer fails to document them properly.
Employee Statements as Evidence
In cases where employers have not maintained accurate records, an employee’s statement alone can indicate the number of hours worked “off the clock.” This allows us to seek appropriate compensation for unpaid hours and ensure that employees’ rights are protected.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Workplace Misconduct Claim in Minneapolis?
A “statute of limitation” is the time you have to bring a lawsuit. If you don’t bring a lawsuit within the deadline, you are barred from bringing your lawsuit.
Discrimination, Hostile Workplace, and Unfair Dismissal Deadline
For discrimination, hostile work environment, and wrongful termination claims, you must move quickly since these are among the shortest statutes of limitation in any area of law.
You have just one year to bring discrimination and wrongful termination claims under Minnesota law. And you have even less, just 300 days, to bring discrimination and wrongful termination claims under federal law.
Under federal law, you must first file your claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and get a right-to-sue letter from EEOC before you can file suit.
But the good news is that once you file with EEOC, your statute of limitations is “tolled,” meaning it doesn’t keep running while it’s pending with EEOC.
So when the EEOC sends you a right-to-sue letter, you will have 90 days to bring a lawsuit after you receive the letter. If you don’t bring suit within that time, you will lose your right to sue on those employment claims forever.
Minimum Wage, Unpaid Overtime, and Unlawful Deductions Deadline
For minimum wage, overtime, unpaid wages, and unlawful deductions claims under either Minnesota or federal law, you have a two-year statute of limitations or three years if you can show that your employer’s violation was “willful.”
But your look-back period is only two to three years. For instance, say that you worked for an employer for five years and they didn’t pay you overtime even though you routinely worked more than 40 hours.
You should bring your lawsuit as quickly as possible because if you wait a year and a half, your look-back period of two years will only allow you to recover about 6 months’ worth of damages.
Even if you get a three-year look-back period because you can show willfulness, you’ll still only get about a year and a half of damages. On the other hand, if you file suit right away, you could recover a full two or three years’ worth of overtime pay plus liquidated damages you’re owed.
For workers’ compensation retaliation claims, you have a six-year statute of limitations in Minnesota. So if you bring suit within six years of the retaliation (usually your termination), you’re within the time allowed.
What Kinds of Damages Can I Recover in a Lawsuit?
You could be eligible for additional damages depending on which employee rights were violated. If you see your case type below, you could be eligible for the following damages:
- For wrongful termination, discrimination, or hostile work environment cases, you can get back pay, front pay, emotional distress, punitive damages, treble damages (three times your actual damages), plus your attorney fees and hard costs.
- For minimum wage, unpaid overtime, unlawful deductions, and unpaid wages, you can generally get all the unpaid wages owed plus an equal amount as liquidated damages and your attorney fees and hard costs.
- For Family and Medical Leave Act claims, you can get back pay, front pay, and liquidated damages equal to your back pay and front pay, plus your attorney fees and hard costs.
Frequently Asked Questions: Our Minneapolis Employment Law Team Answers
How Long Do I Have To File a Case?
As we mentioned above, it depends on the kind of case. For a wrongful termination, discrimination, or hostile work environment case, you’ve got 300 days for your federal claims and one year to file for state claims. For a worker’s compensation retaliation case, you have six years.
For minimum wage, unpaid overtime, unlawful deductions, and unpaid wages cases, you have two or three years if you can show willfulness. In addition, you have two years to file for claims under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA claims).
What Are the Different Kinds of Employee Discrimination or Wrongful Termination Claims?
As outlined in the table, federal and state laws prevent employers from making employment decisions (like hiring, promotions, or firing) based on immutable criteria like race, sex, age, disability, and sexual orientation. These laws also generally protect employees who make reports of discrimination or illegal workplace conduct from retaliation.
Several types of claims address all forms of discrimination or retaliation in the workplace. A Minnesota employment lawyer can advise you on the best approach to your claim.
What Kinds of Damages Can I Recover After Unfair Employer Treatment?
Under Minnesota and federal laws, employees who experience wrongful termination or discrimination may be entitled to various damages, including back pay, emotional distress compensation, and attorney fees.
In some cases, employees may even be entitled to getting their job back, may collect punitive damages, or receive treble damages (three times the amount of their actual damages).
For hostile work environments and worker’s compensation retaliation, state and federal laws allow for recovery of lost wages and hard costs, in addition to the damages above.
Similarly, in minimum wage, overtime, and unlawful deductions cases, employees may recover up to three years worth of unpaid wages or overtime pay, plus an equal amount as liquidated damages, along with attorney fees and costs.
Speak with a Minneapolis employment attorney to determine the damages you may be eligible for.
How Much Does It Cost To Hire a Minneapolis Attorney?
Our Minneapolis employment law attorney works on a contingency-fee basis. That means you’ll never see an hourly bill or invoice from us. Our fee is contingent on you winning your case and receiving compensation from a settlement or verdict; if that doesn’t happen, we don’t get paid.
This allows us to help clients who can’t afford to pay a lawyer hundreds of dollars an hour. So the bottom line is that you don’t need to worry about if you can afford to pay a lawyer because you’ll never pay anything out of pocket. Our fee only comes as a percentage of the settlement we win for you.
How Much Is My Case Worth?
Excellent question. A lot of analysis goes into this, and a lawyer from our Minneapolis, MN team can explain how it works for your specific case. However, the bottom line is that the value of your case, either at settlement or trial, depends on several things, including:
- The strength of your case on the merits
- The amount of damages that you’ve suffered
- Whether the defendant’s employer can pay a large amount of damages (or has insurance)
- Your tolerance for risk
How Do I Choose an Employment Lawyer in Minnesota?
Your priorities in your employment law case are the first step. If you want a trial lawyer to get the most value for your case by preparing your case for trial from day one, we may be perfect for you.
However, if you’re looking for a quick settlement from a volume-based firm, that’s not our business model. There may be better choices out there for you.
In your search for a lawyer for your employment claim, make sure that the lawyer has experience with your type of claim. Some lawyers will claim to have a wide range of casework to get you in the door and fail to win the settlement you need.
How Our Minneapolis Employment Lawyers Can Help You
Our practice represents Minnesota employees in various employment matters, including wrongful termination, discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment, FMLA, minimum wage and overtime, disability, workers’ compensation retaliation, and hostile work environment claims.
We take pride in successfully defending employees against large corporations who have violated the law.
If you have questions at this point, you might also be wondering:
- I haven’t had a job for months and have problems getting one. Who will replace my lost income?
- The harassment and unfair firing I experienced from my job caused me mental hardship. Can I obtain the necessary medical care and compensation?
- My employer wants me to sign a release of claims for employment as part of the severance package. Do I need to sign it?
These are only a few of the concerns that employees and workers have after being wrongfully terminated by their company. For you to begin the process of returning to your regular life, our employment attorneys can assist you in finding the answers to these concerns.
How We’ll Handle Your Minneapolis Employment Law Case
When you approach us with an employment law issue at our law firm, our priority is to work diligently to secure the compensation you deserve. Our experienced team is committed to developing a tailored strategy that maximizes your chances of success.
We understand the importance of protecting your rights and resolving your employment concerns fairly.
Our Case Evaluation Process and How We Prioritize You
First, get in touch with us to explain the situation you are in. You’ll then have a five to ten-minute conversation with a member of our staff. They’ll learn some basic details about you and your situation.
When you call, please be prepared to provide the following details:
- Name of the company you worked for
- Type of work you performed
- Duration of your employment
- Your annual salary
- Whether you were terminated or not
- Reasons given by your employer for disciplinary action or termination
- Any other relevant details
Preparing this information will enable us to move faster and better address your employment law concerns.
We will get back to you, usually within a few hours. We may recommend you lawyers, organizations, or agencies if we believe they would be better equipped to handle your issue if your possible case falls a bit outside of our field of experience.
We aim to ensure you receive the most suitable assistance for your circumstances. If it’s not us, we’ll do our best to let you know as soon as possible and set you on the right path.
Meeting with Our Minneapolis Employment Lawyers To Evaluate and Proceed with Your Case
If we can assist you with your employment law issue, we will schedule a meeting for you to speak with one of our skilled employment lawyers. During this meeting, we will discuss your case in detail, providing you with our honest and professional evaluation of its merits.
Please have any necessary paperwork on hand before speaking with our employment attorneys. This could, for instance, include:
- Personnel records
- Employment policies or handbooks for employees from your workplace
- Letters from your employer, such as your letter of termination
- Any texts or emails that you believe to be crucial
- Any more information you believe may be useful
Contact Our Minnesota Employment and Wrongful Termination Attorneys
Time is of the essence in employment claims. Therefore, delaying may cause you to miss the limited time frame for filing claims. In such cases, statutes of limitation may prohibit any future claims against your employer.
At Madia Law, we can help you deal with employment law issues and work with you to get the compensation you qualify for. Call us or fill out the contact form on our website today to discuss your claim in a free case evaluation and receive legal advice.