What Constitutes Protected Activity Under The Minnesota Whistleblower Act?

The Minnesota Whistleblower Act provides that an employer may not discharge, discipline, threaten, discriminate against, or penalize an employee regarding his or her compensation or terms of employment because the employee engages in any of the following forms of protected activity:

(1)   The employee, or a person acting on behalf of an employee, in good faith, reports a violation or suspected violation of any federal or state law or rule adopted pursuant to law to an employer or to any governmental body or law enforcement official;

(2)   The employee is requested by a public body or office to participate in an investigation, hearing, inquiry;

(3)   The employee refuses an employer’s order to perform an action that the employee has an objective basis in fact to believe violates any state or federal law or rule or regulation adopted pursuant to law, and the employee informs the employer that the order is being refused for that reason;

(4)   The employee, in good faith, reports a situation in which the quality of health care services provided by a health care facility, organization, or health care provider violates a standard established by federal or state law or a professionally recognized national clinical or ethical standard and potentially places the public at risk of harm; or

(5)   A public employee communicates the findings of a scientific or technical study that the employee, in good faith, believes to be truthful and accurate, including reports to a governmental body or law enforcement official.

See Minn. Stat. § 181.932.  The statute does not permit an employee to make statements or disclosures knowing that they are false or that they are in reckless disregard of the truth.  Nor does the statute authorize disclosures that otherwise violate the law.

About Michael Miller

Michael is a Chambers-rated attorney in Briggs and Morgan's Employment, Benefits, and Labor group and is head of the firm’s Employment Law Counseling and Compliance practice group. He has 25 years experience counseling employers to prevent unwanted litigation and advises companies of ongoing changes in federal, state and local employment law. Michael advises employers in all areas of employment law including discipline and discharge, leaves of absence, wage and hour compliance, non-compete and confidentiality agreements, affirmative action plans, background checking, and drug/alcohol testing. For Michael's full bio, click here.

Posted on October 27, 2011, in Retaliation and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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