Minnesota is an “employment-at-will” state. Therefore, an employer may generally terminate an employment relationship at any time and for any reason unless a collective bargaining agreement, employment contract, existing law, or recognized public policy provides otherwise. Despite a strong presumption in favor of the at-will standard, however, the Minnesota courts have held that specific statements in an employee handbook or policy manual may create an employment contract.
For example, in an unpublished opinion, the court upheld an implied contract claim based on a statement made in an employee handbook that employees were entitled to progressive discipline before discharge (Kotera v. Natrogas, Inc., No. C7-00-47 (Minn. App. Ct. 2000)).