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Employment At-Will: Minnesota

Employment At-Will requirements for other states

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

Author: Angela Rud, Gray Plant Mooty


  • Minnesota adheres to the employment at-will doctrine based on the decisions of state courts. See Employment At-Will Doctrine, Generally.
  • Plaintiffs seeking to demonstrate the existence of a contractual relationship must satisfy an evidentiary burden. See Employment Contracts.
  • Verbal promises of employment tenure or grounds for termination may create a legally binding contract, though fact-finders will also consider the surrounding circumstances. See Verbal Promises.
  • Provisions of an employee handbook or policy manual may create enforceable contracts, depending on the circumstances. See Employee Handbooks.
  • Employers who violate a clear mandate of public policy in terminating an employee may be liable for wrongful termination in various circumstances. See Public Policy Exceptions.
  • Minnesota courts have not applied the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing to employment disputes unless the employer and the employee specifically contract for it. See Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing.
  • Minnesota courts recognize other employment-related torts including intentional infliction of emotional distress, promissory estoppel and defamation, so long as the plaintiff is able to satisfy an evidentiary burden. See Exceptions in Tort.