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Change allows for claims for discrimination and work injuries

In news from mid-March, the Minnesota Supreme Court was reported as changing a long-time bar on discrimination lawsuits in workers' compensation cases. The discrimination cases were previously banned based on the Minnesota Human Rights Act, but the court has now ruled that those discrimination claims can be heard.

What does that mean for people in Minnesota? For some, it means a chance to go back and file claims against employers for discrimination that led to injuries or resulted from their injuries. For example, one firefighter now has the option to file a claim since the department had refused to let him wear doctor-prescribed tennis shoes while in the station. He was asked to wear the standard work boots that ended up making his condition worse and forcing him out of the job.

People who do not like the court's ruling argue that the change allows people to claim twice for the same injury. Under workers' compensation, workers give up the right to sue their employers when they're hurt in exchange for coverage.

Under the Human Rights Act, employers have to make a reasonable effort to accommodate those with disabilities. In failing to do so, they open themselves up to liability.

If you were hurt in the past and then faced discrimination, you may have a case today. Changes in laws, even 30 years later, can always impact your case. It's a good idea to discuss your case with your attorney, even if it took place decades ago. This change is a major boost for those who have faced discrimination and should be able to claim for it.

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