• Six Year Statute of Limitations for Some Minnesota Whistleblower Act Claims
  • June 9, 2016 | Authors: John C. Hendricks; Bradley J. Lindeman; Mary M. O'Brien; Margaret R. (Molly) Ryan; Debra L. Weiss
  • Law Firms: Meagher & Geer, P.L.L.P. - Scottsdale Office ; Meagher & Geer, P.L.L.P. - Minneapolis Office
  • The Minnesota Whistleblower Act (MWA) prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee who, in good faith, reports a violation, suspected violation, or planned violation of law to the employee or any governmental body or law enforcement official - "reporting" claims. The MWA also prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee who refuses an employer's order to perform an action that the employee has an objective basis in fact to believe violates the law, and the employee informs the employer that the employer's order is being refused for that reason - "refusal" claims.

    Until recently, Minnesota courts applied a two-year statute of limitations to both "reporting" and "refusal" claims. However, the Minnesota Supreme Court recently held that the statute of limitations for "reporting" claims under the MWA is six years. See Ford v. Minneapolis Public Schools, 874 N.W.2d 231 (Minn. 2016). The statute of limitations for "refusal" claims under the MWA remains two years. Thus, there are now different statutes of limitations applicable to MWA claims, depending on the subdivision that forms the basis for the employee's allegations.

    The Court's decision significantly expands the amount of time an employee has to bring a "reporting" claim under the MWA. Therefore, it also extends the time that employers must wait to be assured that they will not be subject to a MWA claim.