John A. Klassen, PA Minnesota Employment Law Attorney
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Right to jury in worker's comp retaliation cases in Minnesota

Working in a hostile work environment is anything but ideal, and Minnesota employees should understand their rights regarding this situation. This is especially true when a worker experiences employer retaliation. These events could occur when an employee speaks out or takes action against the wrongful treatment of an employer in the work environment. Employees should be aware of their rights and how they could take action against employer retaliation and wrongful discharge.

The Minnesota Supreme Court recently ruled that employees have the right to a jury trial when they allege retaliation under the Minnesota Workers' Compensation Act. This decision was based off of a recent case that involved a maintenance worker that was injured on the job but his foreman failed to file an accident report. The next, the employee was informed that if he filed a report of the incident, he would be fired.

Following the accident, the employee was not cleared to return to work for nine months, and when they attempted to return to work, the employer stated that they did not have any job openings that could accommodate the restrictions of the employee. This led to a complaint being filed by the employee, but the district court denied the filing and stated that the employee did not have a right to a jury trial.

The employee appealed this decision and the court of appeals found that the employee was entitled to a jury trial based on his claim. His employer sought to review this decision and the Minnesota Supreme Court upheld the decision, thus affording the employee with the right to a jury trial.

When an employee believes that they are suffering employment discrimination due to an injury or in the form of retaliation, it is important that they understand their rights and legal remedies. They could file a cause of action, which could result in compensation being awarded. This could be used to offset the losses and damages caused by employer retaliation.

Source: Business and Legal Resources, "Minnesota employees alleging workers' comp retaliation have right to jury trial," Krista J. Griffith, Nov. 6, 2014

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