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Minnesota Overturns Precedent By Extending Whistleblower Statute of Limitations

On December 15, the Court of Appeals for the state of Minnesota made a decision that reversed 20 years of precedent by extending the Minnesota Whistleblower Act’s statute of limitations from two to six years. The decision came in a claim made by a former employee of Minneapolis Public Schools who reported financial discrepancies within the district to her superintendent in 2007. The following April, the plaintiff was informed that her position was to be eliminated, and that her last day of the work with the district would be in June 2008.

 

On June 29, 2010, the plaintiff filed her whistleblower lawsuit, which was originally dismissed by the district court, because the two-year statute of limitations expired in April, as the statute of limitations began when she learned about her dismissal. An appeals court affirmed the decision, and it was taken to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

 

While her appeal with the Supreme Court was pending, the court ruled in a different case that the statute of limitations under the Minnesota Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act was actually six years because it constitutes a statutory claim. The same logic was used in overturning the plaintiff’s case, and in changing policy under the Minnesota Whistleblower Act to allow for a six-year statute of limitations.

 

There are still some questions that remain to be answered after the decision in this case. While MWA claims related to retaliations will have the extended statute of limitations, will that apply to all types of MWA claims? The court will need to clarify the ruling to ensure that there is consistency across the board in terms of enforcement of MWA cases.

 

This is yet another example of how whistleblowers across the country are being given more protections and support than ever before. If you believe you have been retaliated against for reporting wrongdoing within your organization, meet with the skilled Dallas whistleblower attorneys at Whistleblower Law for Managers to get the representation you need.

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