Does the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) Apply to Out-Of-State Employees?
A federal court in Minnesota recently held that employees of Minnesota companies who neither live nor work in Minnesota are not entitled to the protections of the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA).
In Longaker v. Boston Scientific Co., the court held that an out-of-state employee of Boston Scientific was not entitled to the protections of the MHRA. The employee worked as a sales representative in California. Boston Scientific has thousands of employees in Minnesota, and the employee’s agreement with Boston Scientific stated that his employment was governed by Minnesota law. The court held that the employee lacked standing to sue Boston Scientific under the MHRA. The court explained that: (1) there is general presumption against out-of-state application of state statutes; and (2) the explicit language of the MHRA limits its application to in-state residents and employees. Because the employee was a California resident and his employment took place entirely in California, the employee lacked standing to assert a claim under the MHRA.
Takeaway: Employees for Minnesota companies who neither live nor work in Minnesota are likely not entitled to the protections of the Minnesota Human Rights Act. However, out-of-state employees may be protected by the laws of the state in which they are located.