An employer can get caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place when making employment decisions about employees with a history of making workplace complaints. The reported appellate law on this issue is pretty limited and understandably so. Every case is so intensely fact-specific that, quite literally, no two cases are alike.
That said, the elements of a reprisal claim are well established. In order to establish a prima facie case of reprisal, a plaintiff must demonstrate 3 things:
- The person engaged in statutorily protected conduct;
- The employer took an adverse employment action against the employee; and
- A causal connection between the employee's protected conducted and the employer's adverse action. Hoover v. Norwest Private Mortg. Banking, 632 N.W.2d 534, 548 (Minn. 2001).
Knowing the law is a great asset for employers. The peril lies in thinking that you know the law, but not appreciating how the law applies to your specific case.
A bit of legal research for even slightly comparable cases can save an employer a great deal of time and expense. For assistance with your employment issues, call me before making a wrong decision.
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