The short answer is yes—but not without recourse. An employer can fire you for any reason; however, there is recourse that can be taken if an employer fires you, or even threatens to fire you, for reporting your work-related injury. The legislature in Minnesota Statutes § 176.82 provides this recourse in subdivision 1, stating that an employer who fires or threatens to fire “an employee for seeking workers’ compensation benefits” or “intentionally obstructs an employee seeking workers’ compensation benefits” is liable to pay damages to the employee. These damages include any loss in workers’ compensation benefits caused by a violation, including the costs and attorneys’ fees. These actions are generally referred to as “82 actions.” In practice, 82 actions are fairly uncommon—but they’re also essential. The action acts as a check against employers, allowing employees to recover the workers’ compensation benefits that they would have received except for the unlawful interference of their employer.
Employers in Minnesota are mandated to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees under Minnesota Statute §176.181, subdivision 2. The legislature wants to ensure that injured workers have access to recovery if he or she suffers an injury on the job. Employees are generally defined as a person who performs services for another for hire. Employees include minors, part-time workers and non-U.S. citizens. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry is responsible for work comp insurance in Minnesota.