Practice Areas

Employment Agreement Does Not Give Out-of-State Employee Right to Bring Claims under the Minnesota Human Rights Act

July 2012

By: James B. Sherman, Esq.

A federal court in Minnesota recently denied claims brought under Minnesota state law by an employee who resided and worked in California for a Minnesota employer. The plaintiff claimed he could assert a claim under the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) because his employment agreement provided that Minnesota law governed all claims and disputes arising out of the employment relationship. The court disagreed.

Because the MHRA expressly limits its application to Minnesota residents and employees, the court held that this prerequisite could not be overcome by language in an employment agreement. Nevertheless, this case provides a lesson for Minnesota employers that use employment agreements or other contracts for employees residing and working in other states. Avoid a lawsuit by clarifying that Minnesota law only governs "the interpretation" of employment agreements, not all aspects of the employment relationship.

The lawyers of Wessels Sherman are uniquely qualified to answer question about the interrelation of employment laws in multiple states due to our regional practice from offices located in four different states across the Midwest. If you have any questions about Minnesota employment agreements, their construction, interpretation, enforcement and/or the impact they may or may not have on out of state employees, do not hesitate to contact James B. Sherman in Wessels Sherman's Minneapolis office at (952) 746-1700, jasherman@wesselssherman.com or chstaul@wesselssherman.com.