MJSB Employment Justice partner Ross Stadheim recently joined AM 950 host and production manager Brett Johnson to discuss important protections available to employees under the Minnesota Whistleblower Act (MWA). He spoke about how Minnesota has a robust, employee-centered law that protects an employee who becomes aware of unlawful or unethical actions and chooses to report that behavior. If an employee is terminated, demoted, or their hours are cut following their report of unlawful or unethical actions, they may have a claim under the MWA.
He also talked about an important MWA case he handled involving a courageous employee of Globe University (now defunct) who reported on false advertising practices regarding job placement statistics for graduates and was terminated shortly thereafter. It’s an example of the type of conduct protected by the MWA and the retaliation by an employer that is, unfortunately, all too common. In her successful whistleblower suit against Globe University, the former dean who was terminated after reporting on the illegal and deceptive practices of the school was awarded nearly $1 million in damages, attorneys’ fees, and interest.
Thankfully, Minnesota’s whistleblower law is more expansive in its protections than other neighboring states’ laws, including Wisconsin. Without protections like the MWA, it’s less likely that employers would be held accountable because the employee would fear for his or her job if they were to make a report.
Stadheim also shared that if an employee thinks that their employer has done something unlawful or illegal, it’s best to contact an employment attorney right away for advice on how to make a report while they are still employed. “There’s nothing that says you can’t call a lawyer for advice when you’re just contemplating what you should do next after you recognize that there’s something wrong in the workplace.”
If you believe you have knowledge or have become aware of illegal or unlawful activity in your workplace, and you’d like more information on how to protect your rights, contact MJSB Justice today.