What does it mean that Minnesota is an at-will state?

On Behalf of | Sep 18, 2019 | Wrongful Termination |

Like most other states, Minnesota is what the law calls an “at-will” state. In general, this means that an employer, at least a non-unionized workplace, can fire an employee at any time and for just about any reason. Likewise, an employee is allowed to quit work at any time and for any reason.

There are some important exceptions to this rule. Although not the norm, many employers offer their employees contracts, and many of these contracts have rules about when an employer may and may not fire an employee.

Perhaps more importantly, the law carves out several reasons that are improper for any employer to use as a basis to fire an employee, even if the employee is otherwise employed at-will. Some of the best known of these improper reasons are reasons based on a person’s race, creed, sex and the like. This blog has also talked in the past about how employers in the Twin Cities may not fire an employee in retaliation for reporting a law violation or cooperating with authorities.

Interestingly, Minnesota also has a special rule which allows employees to compel their former employers to disclose in writing why the employer fired the employee. In order to get a disclosure, an employee must ask for one within 15 business days after getting fired.

Even an at-will employee in Minnesota may have legal options after his or her termination. For instance, the termination may have been unlawfully discriminatory or may have been illegal for other reasons. A person who has faced wrongful termination may be able to recover compensation and pursue other remedies to help get their life back on track.