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Whistle-blower needs more than hunch employer broke law

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Good news: Employees who claim to be whistle-blowers protected from discharge for complaining about alleged workplace problems under the Minnesota Whistleblower Act have to do more than make general allegations.

A true whistle-blower has to show that his claim, if proven, would amount to a violation of a Minnesota law. He can’t just report he “thinks” the employer may be breaking a law.

Recent case:
Mark Chinander worked for Andersen Windows until he was fired for allegedly stealing food from the cafeteria. He had worked in the “dip tank” where wood was treated with hazardous chemicals. Shortly before being fired, he had complained that he thought another employee in the dip tank didn’t have enough safety training.

The court said a complaint based on that hunch wasn’t enough to make him a whistle-blower. (Chinander v. Andersen Windows, No. 07-4565, DC MN, 2008)

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