Retaliation No Company is Too Big to Play Fair.

Retaliation Lawyers in Minneapolis

Both federal and state laws prohibit employers from retaliating against employees for engaging in protected conduct. To establish a retaliation claim, your protected complaint must have played a part in, or motivated, the employer’s decision. Our attorneys are dedicated to fighting unlawful workplace retaliation.

What is Protected Conduct?

Under Title VII and the Minnesota Human Rights Act, an employer may not retaliate against an employee who engages in conduct protected by law.

Protected conduct includes:

  • Opposing workplace discrimination against you or another employee

  • Assisting an investigation of discrimination

  • Refusing to engage in conduct you believe to be unlawful

  • Asking your employer about your legal rights

  • Taking protected medical leave

  • Requesting accommodations for a disability

  • Associating with other people of a certain race, sex, national origin, or religion

  • Otherwise exercising your rights under the law

Retaliation generally takes the form of a demotion, harassment, transfer, or termination of employment. Even a lateral reassignment can be retaliation if the reassignment impacts your eligibility for promotions or advancement. The United States Supreme Court has also determined that an employer cannot retaliate by taking action against people who are close to you.

Employees also have the right to organize without employer retaliation. This right includes the right to join or assist labor unions, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other activities for mutual aid or protection.

If you "blow the whistle" on an employer’s illegal activity, you may also have whistleblower protection. A number of state and federal statutes include anti-retaliation protection for individuals who report violations of the law. In some cases, the law even rewards individuals who blow the whistle on illegal activity.

What is Employer Retaliation?

Employer retaliation occurs when an employer takes adverse actions against an employee in response to the employee engaging in protected activities, such as reporting illegal behavior or filing a complaint about workplace discrimination or harassment. Retaliation is illegal under various employment laws in many countries and can lead to legal consequences for the employer.

Here are some common examples of employer retaliation:

  • Termination or Demotion – An employer may fire or demote an employee who has engaged in protected activities as a form of retaliation.
  • Salary Reduction or Denial of Benefits – Some employers retaliate by reducing an employee's salary, denying them benefits, or withholding bonuses or promotions that they would otherwise be entitled to.
  • Unfair Performance Evaluations – Providing unjustifiably negative performance evaluations or unfairly criticizing the employee's work in retaliation for engaging in protected activities.
  • Isolation or Exclusion – Purposefully excluding the employee from meetings, projects, or other work-related activities as a form of retaliation.
  • Increased Scrutiny or Micromanagement – Subjecting the employee to excessive monitoring, scrutiny, or micromanagement after they engage in protected activities.
  • Change in Job Duties or Schedule – Altering the employee's job duties, schedule, or work environment in a negative way as retaliation for their protected activities.
  • Threats or Intimidation – Using threats, intimidation, or coercion to discourage an employee from engaging in protected activities or to punish them for doing so.
  • Spreading False Information – Spreading false rumors or making negative statements about the employee to damage their reputation or credibility as retaliation.
  • Reassignment or Transfers – Reassigning the employee to a less desirable position or location as a form of retaliation.
  • Constructive Discharge – Creating such a hostile work environment that the employee feels compelled to resign as a result of retaliation.

How to Seek Justice

In Minnesota, employees who believe they have been wrongfully retaliated against in the workplace typically have several legal avenues to pursue. Here are some of the key options available:

  • Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) – The MHRA prohibits retaliation against employees who engage in protected activities, such as opposing discriminatory practices or filing a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR). Employees who believe they have experienced retaliation under the MHRA can file a charge with the MDHR or pursue a lawsuit in court.
  • Whistleblower Protection Laws – Minnesota has laws that protect employees from retaliation for reporting illegal conduct or violations of law by their employer. The Minnesota Whistleblower Act prohibits employers from taking adverse actions against employees who report suspected violations of law in good faith. Employees who believe they have experienced retaliation for whistleblowing can file a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) or pursue legal action.
  • Workers' Compensation Retaliation – Minnesota law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for seeking workers' compensation benefits or filing workers' compensation claims. Employees who believe they have been retaliated against for exercising their rights under the workers' compensation system can file a complaint with the Minnesota DLI or pursue legal action.
  • Common Law Claims – In addition to statutory protections, employees in Minnesota may have common law claims for wrongful termination or retaliation. Under common law principles, employees may be able to pursue legal action against their employer for retaliatory actions that violate public policy or breach the terms of an employment contract.

Lastly, employees who believe they have been wrongfully retaliated against in the workplace should consider consulting with an experienced employment law attorney. An attorney can evaluate the specific circumstances of the case, explain the employee's rights under state and federal law, and provide guidance on the best course of action.

For assistance with your case, contact our Minneapolis retaliation attorneys at (877) 344-4628.

  • Nichols Kaster obtained a successful jury verdict for a BNSF railroad employee on a Federal Railroad Safety Act retaliation claim.

  • Nichols Kaster obtained a jury verdict for a task force Special Agent in South Dakota on sexual harassment and retaliation claims.

  • Nichols Kaster confirmed the standard protecting workers from retaliation for verbally reporting to employer violation of wage and hour law in front of the Supreme Court.

  • Nichols Kaster obtained the second-largest settlement ever paid by the City of Saint Paul in an employment suit.

  • Nichols Kaster obtained a jury verdict for a St. Jude medical device sales representative on a retaliation claim and defeated the company’s counterclaim for violation of a non-compete agreement.

Compassion. Strength. Experience. A Voice for Employees and Consumers When They Need it Most

Our team of passionate, talented professionals work every day on advancing and protecting people's rights. No entity is too big to play fair, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to our firm to discuss the details of your situation.