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Bird, Jacobsen & Stevens
Legal Representation in Minnesota and Wisconsin

What to do if you are terminated by your employer

Each day our firm receives calls from employees who have been terminated from their employment. If you feel that the employer may have violated the law, a call to Attorney Andrea B. Niesen at Bird, Jacobsen & Stevens will help you evaluate your legal rights.

You have a right to a truthful reason for your termination. To exercise this right, you must, within 15 working days of the date of your termination, submit a written request to the employer for a statement regarding the truthful reason for your termination. The written request should be sent by certified mail, fax or email with a read-receipt, as to provide confirmation of the date your request was received by the employer. The employer has 10 working days from the date it received your request to provide you with a written response. If the employer fails to provide you with a statement regarding the truthful reason for your termination, you may collect from the employer a penalty in the amount of $25 per day, up to $750.

You have a right to review a complete copy of your personnel file at no charge. To receive a complete copy of your personnel file, you must submit a written request to the employer indicating what address you would like the personnel file mailed to. The written request should be sent by certified mail, fax or email with a read-receipt, as to provide confirmation of the date your request was received by the employer. The employer has 7 working days from the date it received your request to place a copy of the personnel file in the mail to you (14 working days if the personnel file is located outside of Minnesota). When you receive your personnel file, you should review it thoroughly. If you disagree with information contained in your personnel file, within the 1 year after your termination, you may request the employer remove or revise the disputed information. If the employer refuses your request, you may submit a written position statement (up to 5 pages in length) identifying the disputed information and explaining your position, which the employer must place in your personnel file. If the employer fails to provide your personnel file or refuses your position statement, you may bring a civil case to require the employer's compliance and to have the employer pay your damages and costs.

You have a right to receive your final wages and commissions. To receive your final wages and commissions, you must submit a written demand to your employer. The written demand should be sent by certified mail, fax or email with a read-receipt, as to provide confirmation of the date your request was received by the employer. The employer has 24 hours from its receipt of your demand to pay all wages and commissions due. Payment must be made in the same manner of payment as during the employment, unless otherwise directed by you. If you direct the payment to be mailed, the wages and commissions are considered paid as of the date of the postmark. If the employer fails to pay the earned wages and commission within 24 hours from its receipt of your demand, you may collect from the employer, in addition to the actual wages and commissions due, a penalty in the amount of one day's worth of pay, for each day of delay, up to 15 days.

You may be entitled to certain benefits. You may be entitled to certain employment benefits such as reimbursement for employment expenses, health/welfare/retirement benefits, vacation pay, holiday pay, or separation pay. You should consult your employer's policies and plans to determine what benefits you are entitled to receive upon termination.

If you have an employment contract or a collective bargaining agreement, you should review those documents to determine what additional rights you may have.

You may be entitled to unemployment compensation benefits. If you were terminated through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to unemployment compensation benefits. Unemployment compensation benefits in Minnesota are administered by the Department of Employment and Economic Security (DEED). If you have questions regarding whether you have sufficient wages to open a benefit account, you should contact DEED directly. To apply for unemployment compensation benefits, you must complete an initial questionnaire online or by phone. DEED will then use the information you and the employer provide to determine whether you are eligible for unemployment compensation benefits. During the consideration of your claim, any appeal, or while you are receiving benefits, you must certify on a weekly basis that you are able to work, available for suitable employment and actively seeking work. If you are found ineligible for any reason ("determination of ineligibility"), you have only 20 calendar days from that determination date to appeal, and should immediately contact Attorney Andrea B. Niesen.

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