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Minnesota Employment Information Center

Minnesota and the federal government have employment laws that pertain to the workplace to protect employees. Neff Law Firm, P.A., handles employment law cases including:

Breach of Employment Contract

When an employer breaks a promise that had lead to the employee accepting a job, it can be very damaging to the employee. The worker may have taken on a job in reliance on the employer's promise of some form of consideration and later finds that he or she has been mislead. There are other kinds of promises by an employer that if not honored can also damage an employee, such as those that may appear in an employee handbook, which in some circumstances may be enforced as an employment contract. Employees may be the victims of fraud or may have observed fraud perpetrated by the employer against others, reported it and been retaliated against by the boss for whistleblowing. It is to the advantage of an employee to look into his or her rights as an employee before accepting the damage caused by a broken promise made by the employer.

Retaliation for Employee Whistleblowing

Neff Law firm, P.A., understands that actual failings of an employee are not the only reason he or she may be disciplined, demoted, or fired. An employer may at times have a hidden agenda. Neff Law Firm, P.A., may be able to help protect an injured employee from a boss who uses an illegal hidden agenda as a basis for retaliation. For example, an employee who reports an illegal act by an employer is called a "whistleblower." An employer may retaliate against an employee who reports an employer's violation of law. This reaction by the employer to the report of a violation of law may occur in different ways. The retaliation may be by discrimination, unfair discipline, threats, termination of employment, demotion, and/or being penalized with respect to the terms, conditions and privileges at the workplace. It may result in lost raises, lost wages, benefits and/or hours, loss of promotion, demotion, a loss of reputation, loss of standing in the community, loss of employment opportunities and termination of employment. Retaliation may also cause an employee to suffer mental and emotional distress. The law does provide some protection for whistleblowers that meet certain requirements as set by prevailing law in a specific jurisdiction. An employer may attempt to mask the retaliation by making it look as though the employee was the one who did something wrong. Employers can pretextually mask the retaliatory basis for the adverse employment action by making false and damaging claims against the employee. An employer may retaliate against an employee by discharging his or her employment based on a false accusation of misconduct as a way of not only masking the retaliatory motive, but also hurting the employee's credibility and career. Employers that are afraid of the repercussions of illegal conduct being reported sometimes pretextually use false accusations against the employee who reported the illegal conduct in an effort to destroy the employee's credibility. Some employers may go so far as to falsely blame whistleblower that reported the illegal conduct of being the perpetrator of the violation of law. Qualified whistleblowers that move in a timely manner may achieve justice for injuries based on retaliation for reporting an employer's suspected violation of law through the legal system. If an employer is retaliating against the employee that reported the employer's illegal conduct, then depending on the facts of the situation there may be a basis for a whistleblower claim. Neff Law Firm, P.A., has extensive and successful experience handling claims for whistleblowers and can help protect a whistleblower's legal rights.

Qui Tam / False Claim Act

A Qui Tam action involves a person who reports a suspected violation of a statutory law which contains a penalty to be recovered in a civil action. In a Qui Tam action a part of the penalty may go to a qualified person who properly reported the illegal act to the government and met all applicable requirements to be compensated. This may involve the person who reports the illegal activity bringing a legal action against the entity who violated the law on behalf of the government. When a person reports a violation of law to the government he or she is acting as a whistleblower. Qui Tam actions may involve reporting of fraudulent billing or false claims against the government such as false Medicare or Medicaid reporting by a medical or healthcare provider. Neff Law Firm, P.A., can represent a qualified person who wants to relate his or her knowledge of a suspected violation of a statute to the government pursuant to a Qui Tam action. A person who reports suspected illegal activity might experience a number of different types of legal difficulties after reporting a suspected violation of law by an entity. The entity that allegedly did the illegal act or acts may try to retaliate against a whisleblower.

Employment Discrimination

A boss may unlawfully discriminate against an employee. In situations like this it is important to move in a timely and appropriate manner to protect the employees rights. Neff Law Firm, P.A., can be a helpful advisor to the employee and successfully assert his or her legal rights. Employment discrimination may be based on race, color, national origin, gender, sexual preference, age and/or disability. Often employees fear to resist or report the discrimination because they believe it will only make things worse. This feeling of helplessness may convince an employee to endure continuous and repeatedly discriminatory treatment. The unfair treatment can include being disciplined, threatened, discriminated against and penalized regarding his or her job title, job responsibilities, compensation, terms, conditions and privileges of employment. The discriminatory treatment has the effect of adversely and unlawfully affecting an employee's ability to perform his or her job. Employees who resist the discrimination on their own at the workplace frequently complain about discriminatory reprisals taken against them by the employer. Similarly employees who have reported the discrimination to supervisors within the place where they work allege being retaliated against for whistleblowing. This discrimination if not addressed correctly by an employee can lead to increasingly serious problems such as wrongful termination of employment, challenges to an employee's occupational license or even allegations of criminal conduct. Employees who are the victims of illegal discrimination have a right to be free from this type of conduct. There are different laws against discrimination including both anti-discrimination case law and anti-discrimination statutes. This body of law includes both Federal anti- discrimination law and state anti-discrimination laws. These laws include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, The American with Disabilities Act, The Age Discrimination in Employment Act and The Equal Pay Act. Many anti-discrimination laws set forth protected classes of people, describe the entities covered under the particular law, set forth administrative procedures for handling claims, have statutes of limitation and give certain types of relief where there is a valid claim of illegal discrimination in violation of the specific law covered. A victim of illegal discrimination may be able to seek money damages for lost wages and benefits, liquidated compensatory damages, and attorney's fees in some instances. Prompt attention to addressing discrimination is very important in protecting employeerights.

Sexual Harassment of an Employee at Work

A serious employment problem is sexual harassment. This type of discriminatory conduct can take more than one form. One of these forms is referred to as quid pro quo. Quid pro quo is Latin for "something for something" or "this for that". This type of sexual harassment can involve a bribery-type situation in which a supervisor or employer gives an employee a promotion or other employment benefit in exchange for sexual favors. It can also involve a blackmail-type situation in which an employee's job, future advancement, and other benefits are threatened if he or she doesn't submit to a demand for sexual activity. Benefits which may be withheld or promised in exchange for sexual favors can include favorable work shifts, better job assignments, promotions, increased pay, time-off of work with pay, and simply keeping your job at all. Many times an employee who is sexually harassed faces disbelief or a "blame the victim" attitude by others. Victims feel doubly wronged in first being sexually harassed and then having others doubt their credibility and/or come up with all kinds of things that the victim of sexual harassment allegedly did that prompted the unsuitable conduct. This feeling of hopelessness tends to discourage victims from pursuing justice. A victim of sexual harassment does, however, have legal recourse against illegal sexual harassment. It is a sound idea for a person who feels sexually harassed to consult with a lawyer from Neff Law Firm, P.A., who can advise on avenues of relief.

Attack on an Employee's Professional or Occupational License

An employee who holds a professional or other type of occupational license can face false accusations by a boss that he or she have done something in violation of his or her license. An occupational and professional license can be an extremely valuable part of a person's life. A complaint against an individual's occupational or professional license can have devastating consequences. An attack on an individual's license may have more than one negative effect including doing harm to reputation, income, asset base, and even in some cases be accompanied by a related criminal charge. When faced with a challenge to a professional or occupational license it is very useful to get prompt legal assistance.

To set up an appointment to review your legal options and make an informed decision about your situation, contact Neff Law Firm, P.A., at (952) 831-6555.

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