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Can my employer retaliate against me for filing a workers’ compensation claim?

No. An employer is not allowed to retaliate against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim.

Under a state health law, if you have contracted or been exposed to COVID-19 and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recommends that you stay home (isolate or quarantine yourself), your employer may not discharge, discipline or penalize you for missing work. This protection also applies if you need to care for a minor or adult family member for whom MDH recommends isolation or quarantine. (The adult family member must have a disability or be a vulnerable adult.) This employment protection is available for 21 workdays. For more information, call the number MDH will give you with its recommendation.

Under Minnesota law, specifically, Minn. Stat. § 176.82, an employee may bring an action for civil damages based on a retaliatory discharge. Any injured worker discharged or threatened to be discharged for seeking workers’ compensation benefits, or in any manner intentionally obstructing the injured worker from seeking workers’ compensation benefits, would be liable in a civil action for damages incurred by the employee, including any reduction in the workers’ compensation benefits caused by the violation such as costs, reasonable attorney fees, and punitive damages not to exceed three times the amount of any compensation for which the employee would be entitled to.

The Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) protects employees from discrimination on the basis of disability, race, national origin, age and other protected classes. Individuals with disabilities have the right to request “reasonable accommodations” from employers that are subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act and/or the MHRA.