Visitor Question

Position eliminated after filing a hostile environment complaint?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Northfield, Minnesota)

I live in Minnesota and work for a city-owned medical facility. I have longevity of twenty two years, and have a little over two years until I can legally retire with full social security benefits. However, I have no intention of retiring as I’m healthy and need to remain employed due to my husband’s cancer diagnosis.

My position was eliminated under the guise of the facility deciding to go to an all RN nursing staff stating “it’s best practice”. I’m the only LPN on our unit. The elimination of the LPN position came on the tail of my complaint of hostility in the workplace, and co-workers filing safety reports in which they indicated it was unsafe to have an LPN working on the unit and they should have a third RN. This has been a problem over the past year.

I finally had enough, and spoke directly with management and HR, who said they would perform a “discovery” or fact finding to verify my complaint via speaking separately to the other two individuals involved. Neither management nor HR have informed me of any resolution, or what their findings were. The situation has not changed on the unit.

Shortly thereafter I was requested to meet with the director of nursing in her office, and upon arrival found HR and my direct manager waiting for me. I was then informed my position was being eliminated due to “best practice” to have an all RN staff, and it had nothing to do with work performance. They had done research and found other facilities were only using LPN’s as nursing assistants, and I had 90 days.

I was told I was free to apply for any other position in the facility, but was not offered another position. None of those positions offered the same hours or type of nursing practice I’ve been in.

There are several other employees who’ve been terminated in this way and given various reasons for termination. I know of only one of those individuals who brought a law suit and won their case. But other former employees have brought suits against the facility for other breech of contract issues such as refusing workman’s comp, to name just one.

Do I have a case? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

The State of Minnesota is not a “Right to Work” state. This means unions may be organized and recognized to collectively represent union members. If you are a member of a union, you may seek their assistance and ask that they intervene and protect your employment status.

In Minnesota, contracts of employment are enforceable. If you have a contract of employment you may rely upon it in an effort to continue your employment.

In addition, pursuant to Minnesota’s Revised Statute Section 181.933 you may have a cause of action against your employer for wrongful termination. Section 181.933 reads in part:

“An employee who has been involuntarily terminated may, within 15 working days following such termination, request in writing that the employer inform the employee of the reason for the termination. Within ten working days following receipt of such request, an employer shall inform the terminated employee in writing of the truthful reason for the termination.”

If you believe your employment has been wrongfully terminated, seek the advice and counsel of several workers compensation attorneys in your area. Most will not charge any fee for an initial office consultation. You would not be able to pursue a case like this on your own.

Learn more here: Wrongful Termination Cases

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck with your claim.

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