Repeated warnings of fraud may be protected whistle-blowing

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Minnesota employees are protected from retaliation for reporting possible illegal activities to their employers.

Recent case: Charles Hayes worked for an auto repair shop for 16 years until the company laid him off. Hayes sued, alleging the company fired him because he had complained that a co-worker was telling customers they had to replace perfectly good parts. Hayes said this was whistle-blowing under the Minnesota Whistleblower Act. The trial court dismissed the case, and he appealed.

The Court of Appeals of Minnesota ordered a trial. It said Hayes’ frequent complaints about illegal sales constituted whistle-blowing attempts. The fact that he was terminated when a junior employee—the one who allegedly made the fraudulent sales—kept his job could have been retaliation. (Hayes v. Dapper, et al., No. A07-1878, Court of Appeals of Minnesota, 2008)

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