Employees may not be fired because they filed a worker’s compensation claim. Minnesota workers’ compensation law is designed to protect people who seek worker’s compensation benefits and discourage employers from discharging people for seeking what the worker’s compensation statute provides for injured employees. This subdivision is designed for employees who are injured on the job and is designed to encourage employers of such injured employees to keep those injured employees working for the employer in a capacity which meets the employees physical capabilities due to the injury the employee suffered with that employer.
Discrimination is also not a reason to fire or refuse to hire an employee. It is an unfair labor practice:
(2) For an employer, because of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, membership or activity in a local commission, disability, sexual orientation, or age,
(a) to refuse to hire or to maintain a system of employment which unreasonably excludes a person seeking employment; or
(b) to discharge an employee; or
(c) to discriminate against a person with respect to hiring, tenure, compensation, terms, upgrading, conditions, facilities, or privileges of employment.
In order to prevail on a Minnesota Human Rights Act claim a plaintiff must establish a prima fascia case of discrimination, showing that the employee was (1) a member of a protected class, (2) qualified for the position held, (3) discharged, (4) and replaced by a non-member of the protected class. Lindgren v. Harmon Glass Co., 489 N.W.2d 804, 808 (Minn. Ct. App. 1992). To prove that a claimant is a member of the protected class of disabled persons afforded protection pursuant to the MHRA, the claimant must show that she (1) has a physical, sensory, or mental impairment which materially limits one or more major life activities; (2) has a record of such an impairment; or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment. A plaintiff can prove that work is one major life activity that can be limited by a disability. A claimant could present testimony that she could not see, hear, speak, breath, or learn which are other major life activities could be materially impaired (see Fuqua v. Unisys Corp., 716 F. Supp. 1201, 1204-05 (D. Minn. 1989)).