Minnesota employees who believe they were punished for refusing to engage in illegal activities can sue under two distinct but related laws. First, they may have a claim under Minnesota’s Whistleblower Act. Second, they can sue under the state common law for wrongful discharge.
Each law has a different standard.
The Whistleblower Act requires that the employee “refuses an employer’s order to perform an action that the employee has an objective basis in fact to believe violates any state or federal law ... and the employee informs the employer that the order is being refused for that reason.
Common law only requires that the employee refused to participate “in an activity that the employee, in good faith, believes violates any state or federal law.”
In both cases, it’s illegal to fire or otherwise punish an employee who refuses to break the law.
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