By Lawrence P. Schaefer |
Today, the Minnesota Supreme Court (in a unanimous decision) responded to a certified question from the United States District Court by enforcing the 2013 amended definition of “good faith” in the Minnesota Whistleblower Act (MWA). See Friedlander v. Edwards Lifesciences, LLC, A16-1916 (August 9, 2017). In doing so, the Court abrogated numerous pre-amendment decisions which required a whistleblower to be found to have acted in a manner intended to expose an illegality, which is now no longer required by the amended statutory definition.
Progress for Minnesota via Amendment to Whistleblower Act
This is great news for Minnesota employees and their advocates. For years, Minnesota state and federal courts had restrictively interpreted the MWA by denying claims deemed to be brought consistent with an employee’s job duties, or which weren’t motivated by a desire to advance public policy by exposing illegal behavior. As a result, the MWA had been restricted in a manner which required the 2013 amendments. This will now change with this landmark decision.
I testified in the Minnesota legislature in support of the 2013 amendments, which not only defined good faith narrowly, but added “common law” to the list of protected legal reports, as well as “planned violations” of law, and was dismayed to find that despite these amendments, Courts were continuing to follow the restrictive pre-2013 published decisions. The decision by the Minnesota Supreme Court today should end this practice, and open up this law to scores of employees who are retaliated against because they objected to employer conduct that was they in good faith perceived to be illegal.
Schaefer Halleen lawyers are committed to advancing these claims on behalf of adversely affected employees. The decision today removes a significant obstacle to this advocacy, and affirms the sweeping impact of the 2013 amendments. If you believe you are being retaliated in the workplace, don’t hesitate to contact the Firm to enforce your rights consistent with broad scope of this law, now confirmed by the highest Court in this state.
Lawrence P. Schaefer has earned the respect of judges and other lawyers for his thorough and aggressive client advocacy in negotiation and litigation. He focuses exclusively on representing people who have been subject to employment discrimination at work. Larry serves as the firm’s President and head of litigation.