(952) 657-5417
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Contact Information
P: (952) 657-5417
F: (952) 657-5420

9001 E. Bloomington Freeway
Suite 123
Bloomington, MN 55420

EMail: JW Legal Services

Overview of Employment Law in Minnesota


  • Employment at Will:
  • Employment at Will is the basic rule governing employment in MN and almost every other state. It allows an employee to terminate their employment at anytime and for any reason. It also allows employers to terminate employment at anytime for any reason. Exceptions include Union employees, employees who have signed an Employment Contract, and certain government employees.
  • Protected Classes:
  • The employment-at-will rule is limited only by other laws that prohibit certain types of discrimination against “protected classes”. Protected classes in Minnesota include: Race/Color/Ethnicity/Country of Origin; Gender, Pregnancy, or Sexual Orientation; Age; Disability; Religion; Military Status; and Public Assistance. Employment decisions cannot be based on any of these categories.
  • Employment Decisions:
  • Employment decisions include hiring, disciplining, promoting, and terminating employees. There are other examples, such as determining shift schedules, providing benefits, etc. None of these decisions can be based on protected classes.
  • Retaliation:
  • There are also laws protecting employees from being retaliated against. For example, employers cannot retaliate against you for: participating in/filing a charge of discrimination or expressing a belief that you or someone else is being discriminated against; reporting a violation of the law (Whistleblower); filing a Workers’ Compensation claim; or contacting OSHA to express a safety concern. Some examples of Retaliation include: demotion; termination; disciplining; reducing salary, benefits, or work hours; switching you to a less desirable shift; and taking away some of your responsibilities.
  • Harassment:
  • The law also protects you from being harassed at work based on the same protected classes listed above. Some examples of harassment include: asking for sexual favors in exchange for a promotion or demoting you if you don’t agree to go out with your boss; telling dirty jokes, posting nude pictures, or unwelcome touching; making fun of your religion or sexual orientation; or making racist comments.
  • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA):
  • The Family and Medical Leave ACT (FMLA) provides employees with a way to take unpaid time off work for a serious illness; to take care of a family member who is unable to care for themselves due to an illness, injury, or surgery; or to care for a new child who has been born, adopted, or taken in as a foster child. In order to be eligible, you must have worked at the same place for at least one year. If you are eligible, you are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave every 12 months. Companies violate this law if they discourage or prevent you from taking the leave you are entitled to or if they retaliate against you for taking it.
  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)-Wage/Hour Law:
  • The FLSA includes regulations on minimum wage and overtime. Overtime violations are the most common. Examples of overtime violations include forcing you to work off the clock, not paying you for time spent at work “on call”, or not paying you for time spent at work doing activities your employer requires as part of your job such as putting on safety gear/clothing, attending required training, etc. Another common violation is misclassifying employees as “salaried” and therefore not entitled to overtime when they should be receiving overtime. The most common types of employees who are not entitled to overtime include: employees who are often required to exercise judgment in making decisions that affect the company; sales professionals; and those who manage other employees and have responsibility for hiring, disciplining, reviewing, and terminating employees. If you do not fall into one of those categories and are NOT being paid for your overtime, you may be improperly classified.
  • Non-Compete Agreements:
  • Many companies will require you to sign a Confidentiality Agreement and a Non-Compete Agreement on your first day at a new job. This is typically a condition of employment, meaning that if you refuse to sign you will not be allowed to start the job and will be considered to have quit. Confidentiality Agreements typically don’t create problems for the employee. However, Non-Compete Agreements can, so it is important to read it carefully and consider having it reviewed by an attorney before signing it. Non-Compete Agreements can prevent you from working for a competitor after you leave your current position. Some Non-Compete Agreements are too restrictive and therefore unenforceable. These types of agreements are very typical in positions such as Sales, Engineering, and Technology but can be found in many other positions as well. If you are considering an Offer of Employment from a company, you can ask to review any Non-Compete Agreement you would be required to sign upon hire so that you can have the Agreement reviewed by an attorney prior to your first day.
    The information provided on this website is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. As every situation is unique, you should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. You are welcome to contact JW Legal Services; however, simply contacting JW Legal Services does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information until an attorney-client relationship has been established.