Minnesota Whistleblower Laws

To "blow the whistle" is to contact the proper authorities (or the press, depending on the statute) about a violation of the law or the public's trust committed by your employer. Therefore, state whistleblower laws are meant to protect employees from being retaliated against by their employer after blowing the whistle. For example, an employee contacts the Environmental Protection Agency after learning that his company is planning to illegally dump toxic waste in the local watershed. The employer learns through the grapevine who contacted the EPA, and promptly terminates the whistleblower, thus violating state law.

Some states limit whistleblower protections to public employees, while others extend these protections to private employees as well.

Minnesota Whistleblower Protections at a Glance

Minnesota's whistleblower law protects both private and public employees, who may file a civil lawsuit to recover damages and attorney's fees, while seeking injunctive relief (such as being reinstated into one's job or a promotion they were denied). Damages may include lost wages after termination or any other negative effects of retaliation. State law also protects employees who refuse to perform any action they reasonable believe is illegal.

See the following chart for a summary of Minnesota's whistleblower law.

Code Section 181.931, et seq.
Prohibited Employer Activity Can not discharge, discipline, threaten, or otherwise discriminate or penalize if employee reports violation of federal or state law or rule or is requested to testify or refuses to perform an action that he/she reasonably believes is in violation unless its disclosure of confidential communication provided by civil law
Protection for Public or Private Employees? Both
Opportunity for Employer to Correct? -
Remedies Can file civil action to recover all damages and attorney's fees as well as injunctive relief
Penalties Civil penalty; $25 per day per injured employee, maximum $750 per injured employee

Note: State laws are always subject to change through new legislation, court decisions, or ballot initiatives. We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of these pages, but you may also consider contacting a Minnesota employment law attorney or conducting your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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