Your Rights Upon Termination of Employment

Your employer calls and tells you that you have been let go from a company you have put your heart and soul into the past several years. After you have moved past the initial feelings of shock and frustration, you may have several questions regarding your legal rights. Your employer didn’t tell you why you are being let go and refuses to compensate you your full wages. Do you have any legal recour

Inti Martinez Aleman
June 12, 2018

Outlined below are some legal documents and compensation you are entitled to if you are terminated. Remember that the sections that follow are only a brief overview of the law, and you should always consult a licensed attorney before taking any legal action.

Notice of Truthful Reason Termination  
Under Minnesota law, you may request a Notice of Truthful Reason for Termination up to 15 days after the day of your termination. Your employer must respond to you in writing within 10 days of receiving your request. In their document, your former employer must provide you with their specific reasoning for terminating your employment.

There are several situations and/or actions for which your employer cannot discharge you, so obtaining this Notice is good to have. Employers tend to be vague or imprecise at times; this could mean they’re hiding something.

Personnel Record
If you suspect that your employer’s reasoning doesn’t quite match up with your past work performance, you may request to view your personnel record kept by your employer. This record essentially provides information regarding your eligibility for employment based upon things such as your work ethic, personal character, credit score, etc.

If you have been separated from your employment, your employer must provide you with a copy of your personnel record within a specified time frame and free of charge upon request. (You can request it while being employed, too.) It is your legal right to view and understand the circumstances surrounding your termination. Your personnel record can allow you to link the Notice discussed above with your past work performance so you can better discern the premise behind your termination. Often you cannot discern it from reviewing your personnel record, however.

Wage Compensation
After wading through all the legal documentation, now we’ll discuss what all of us tend to be most concerned about: money. Luckily for you, if an employer discharges you, your wages and commissions earned and unpaid at the time of discharge are due promptly. After you have requested to be paid in full for any outstanding wages or commissions, your employer generally has 24 hours to compensate you or risk being in violation of the law.

There are exceptions to the general rule, as with most laws, but just know that you are legally entitled to be paid promptly any wages and commissions owed.

Being terminated from your employment is a confusing and traumatic event for most everyone. However, with a little help from a lawyer who practices employment law, you can ensure that you receive everything you are legally entitled to.

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If, without justification, your employer violates any of your right described above, your employer may be fined for up to $5,000 by the Department of Labor and Industry.

List of Statutes:

Minn. Stat. 181.932: Disclosure of information by employees
Minn. Stat. 181.933: Notice of termination
Minn. Stat. 181.935: Individual remedies; penalty
Minn. Stat. 181.961: Review of personnel record by employee
Minn. Stat. 181.13. Penalty for failure to pay wages promptly
Minn. Stat. 181.14: Payment to employees who quit or resign; settlement of disputes
Minn. Stat. 181.74: Failure of employer to pay benefits or wage supplements, penalty
Minn. Stat. 181.9641: Enforcement of the law

About The Author
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I represent Latinos in civil, business, and employment litigation matters, ranging from contract disputes or employment issues to small business litigation or landlord-tenant matters. In May 2016, I obtained my second law degree (JD) from Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota. ...

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