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Performance Appraisals: Minnesota

Performance Appraisals requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: Carl Crosby Lehmann, Gray Plant Mooty


  • Employees who believe the performance appraisal process is unfair could assert claims of discriminatory treatment. Discrimination coverage is broader under the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) and other state laws than federal antidiscrimination laws. These state laws apply to all employers and cover more classes of individuals than those protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and other federal laws. See Risk of Discrimination Claims.
  • Employers may not take adverse employment action, e.g., a poor performance review, because an employee has had a legally protected leave of absence. Qualified employees in Minnesota have rights to leaves from work beyond the rights provided under federal leave laws. See Leave Laws.
  • Performance appraisals that are critical in areas of performance that are closely tied to an employee's mental or physical impairment could give rise to disability discrimination or failure to provide reasonable accommodations claims under the MHRA. See Disability Discrimination Risks.
  • Negative performance feedback following an employee's legally protected activity, especially when the performance appraisal processes or standards have been inconsistently applied, could raise the risk of liability under Minnesota's Whistleblower and other anti-retaliation statutes. See Legally Protected Conduct.
  • In light of Minnesota's self-publication doctrine employers in Minnesota need to have a greater sensitivity to the risk that statements made in the course of performance evaluations could give rise to defamation claims. See Defamation.