Minnesota Supreme Court rules injured workers can claim disability discrimination under the Minnesota Human Rights Act

“The law says employers must make a reasonable effort … under the Human Rights Act … to accommodate the disability. An employer just can’t dislike disabled people and you’re fired." --Employment lawyer Brian Rochel

Minnesota Supreme Court rules injured workers can claim disability discrimination under the Minnesota Human Rights Act

By Neal St. Anthony (Star Tribune)

Employment lawyers are buzzing about a recent Minnesota Supreme Court ruling that liberalized workers’ compensation law to permit related discrimination suits under the Minnesota Human Rights Act that were barred by the court’s ruling 30 years ago.

Former Minneapolis firefighter Keith Daniel, 57, forced into early retirement in 2016 by job-related injuries, settled a workers’compensation claim for $125,000.

In a 5-2 decision in late February, the Supreme Court ruled that Daniel can return to Hennepin County District Court to pursue a claim that was rejected earlier under the Human Rights Act because fire department management allegedly discriminated against him by refusing to allow him to wear doctor-prescribed tennis shoes that relieved his condition around the station house.

The brass insisted that he wear the standard boots that exacerbated his ankle injury.

Daniel alleged discrimination because the response to his disability not only prevented him from working but violated his civil rights by harming his dignity and self-respect as a disabled employee.

Read More: Injured workers have another legal tool thanks to the Minnesota Supreme Court

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