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Worker Support

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The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the importance of Minnesota workers in ensuring residents have access to health care, food, and all the other basic resources and services we rely on every day. 

Minnesota has resources available for people who have recently become unemployed or underemployed due to COVID-19 and for those who are employed and require additional information about the impact of COVID-19 on their day-to-day work.

Unemployment information for workers who have been laid off or had hours reduced

  • Apply for unemployment benefits. Get common questions answered, apply for benefits, and check the status of your unemployment insurance account at uimn.org, the official website of the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Program, administered by the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).
  • Find a job. Search job postings, get help with resume writing, participate in virtual workshops and more on CareerForceMN.com.
  • Help making ends meet. Find out about help with food, utility bills, heating costs, health care coverage and other assistance for which you may be eligible.

Workplace Health and Safety

The health and safety of Minnesota’s workers are central to the health of Minnesota’s children, families, and communities. Below you’ll find information, resources, and contact information for workers.

All workers who are able to work from home must continue to do so.

If you are told to return to the office or have been going into the office but can clearly complete your work from home, take these steps:

  1. Inform your employer that returning to work violates the Governor’s Executive Orders and that you will be working from home so you do not violate the Governor’s orders.

  2. Contact the Work from Home Violation Helpline by phone: 651-539-1132 or toll free at 833-454-0152, or by email WFHviolations@state.mn.us.

  3. File your own lawsuit against your employer under the state’s whistleblower law, if your employer retaliates against you for working from home or reporting the violations to the Department of Public Safety.

Steps to take if your workplace is not following health and safety protocols.

If you return to the workplace and believe your employer is not following their COVID-19 Preparedness Plan or not following CDC or Minnesota Department of Health guidelines, like social distancing, the first step is to attempt to resolve concerns directly with your employer.

If you are still concerned about your workplace safety, take these steps:

  1. Call Minnesota OSHA: If you are not successful working with your employer, not comfortable raising concerns, or have additional concerns about the safety of your workplace, contact Minnesota OSHA at 651-284-5050 or OSHA.Compliance@state.mn.us.

  2. Refuse to work: You have the right to refuse to work under conditions that you reasonably believe present serious physical harm to you. Your employer may not fire you or otherwise retaliate against you for your refusal to do your job if you have asked your employer to correct the hazardous conditions, but they do not. If you refused to work and your employer does not reassign you to other work, you may contact Minnesota OSHA to request assistance.

  3. Consider quitting your job: After taking all the appropriate steps listed above, you can quit your job if the employer does not address the concern within a reasonable amount of time. As long as it was reasonable to quit, you would likely remain eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

  4. If you are fired or retaliated against for raising concerns about workplace safety, you would likely remain eligible for unemployment insurance benefits and you can:

    • File a complaint with Minnesota OSHA within 30 days

    • File your own lawsuit against your employer under the state’s whistleblower law

Request an accommodation if you have a disability or health condition.

Workers who have a disability, including individuals with health conditions such as diabetes or a compromised immune system, can request a reasonable accommodation.

Take these steps to request an accommodation:

  1. Talk to your employer and propose an accommodation such as shifting your working hours, moving your workstation, or working from home, to ensure you can do your job while not compromising your health. Many employers are finding creative and flexible solutions to protect employees with disabilities, underlying health conditions, and mental illness.

  2. If you need assistance or were denied a reasonable accommodation, call the Minnesota Department of Human Rights’ Discrimination Helpline at 1- 833-454-0148.

Protections for workers who contract or have been exposed to COVID-19.

If you have contracted or been exposed to COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health recommends you stay home and isolate or quarantine yourself. If you contracted COVID-19, you may be able to request a reasonable accommodation from your employer if you need time away from work or an accommodation when you return to work.

Your employer may not discharge, discipline or penalize you for missing work. If this happened to you, call the Minnesota Department of Health at 651-201-5414.

This protection also applies if you need to care for a minor or adult family member for whom the Minnesota Department of Health recommends isolation or quarantine. The adult family member must have a disability or be a vulnerable adult. This employment protection is available for 21 workdays.

If COVID-19 results in having a disability or an ongoing health condition, you can request a reasonable accommodation when you return to work.

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