Employment Law For Employees In The Twin Cities

At Cloutier Law Offices P.A., we are passionate about protecting the rights of workers throughout Minnesota. We represent individuals who have been subjected to discrimination in the workplace, including bias based on gender (including pregnancy issues), disability, sexual orientation, race, age and religious affiliation. We also handle retaliation cases where the employee is being mistreated for union activity or whistleblower (qui tam) activities, and we review severance packages and resolve wage and hour disputes.

For a free consultation to discuss your rights as an employee, contact our offices today. We advise and represent employees in Minneapolis, St. Paul and throughout the Twin Cities metro area.

Have You Been Discriminated Against?

The law regarding employment discrimination has certain distinct requirements. Minnesota is an "at-will" employment state. This means that any employer can fire any employee for virtually any reason if you do not have a contract, or if you are not a member of a protected class. In general, Minnesota and Federal governments protect employees who are being discriminated against on the basis of race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, religion, or disability. If you blow the whistle on your employer for illegal actions, or you are trying to form a union and your employer retaliates against you, you can also be protected under the law.

In order to prove that you have been or are being discriminated against, you must show specific instances of discrimination. A general feeling that you are being discriminated against because you are a member of a protected class is unlikely to be enough to win this kind of case in court.

What Can You Do To Establish That Discrimination Has Occurred?

1) If you are a member of a protected class, but it is not obvious to your employer, make it known to the employer. For example, if you gay or lesbian, but you have not been open about it at work, then your employer can claim as a defense that they did not know you were gay. This would also apply if you believe you are being discriminated against for a disability or membership in a particular religion.

2) If your company has an employee handbook, make sure you follow your company's policies and procedures for reporting the harassment or discrimination to the proper person or office. For example, if your immediate supervisor is harassing you, but his or her supervisor does not know about it, the company could defend itself by claiming they were unaware of the harassment. If you take steps to make a report through human resources, the company heads cannot claim lack of knowledge. If your employer fails to remedy the situation and/or the discrimination or harassment continues after a report to Human Resources, then it is much easier to establish a case against the company.

3) Document. Document. Document. If you believe your employer is trying to get rid of you for a discriminatory reason, make notes of everything that seems wrong to you, and keep copies of all relevant notes and documents at home. Do not leave them at work. If you are fired, you may not have access to those documents again.

What NOT To Do

DO NOT give your employer a reason to fire you. If the employer can establish a legitimate basis for terminating your employment, there might be nothing we can do to help you. Be on time. Follow procedures. Do not take unexcused absences.

DO NOT voluntarily quit your job before speaking with an attorney. Although there is a provision in the law regarding "constructive discharge," this may be difficult to prove. Your case will almost always be stronger if you stay on the job and wait for them to fire you. That said, there are some situations where the discrimination is so severe that you have no choice.

If You Are In A Union

Your case might be handled differently if you belong to a union. We can advise on the best course of action to help you secure justice.

Contact An Employment Law Attorney

Feel free to call us if you are experiencing harassment from your employer or suspect you are about to be fired. It can sometimes be helpful to have an attorney long before you are terminated. Please contact us via email or call us at 612-332-5100 today for a free initial consultation.