DWI SIDELINES MINNESOTA AIDE IN PENDING WRONGFUL TERMINATION SUIT

March 20th, 2013

When it rains, it pours. At least that may be the sentiment of one former Minnesota Senate aide. The man has a pending wrongful termination lawsuit in the court system. However, he was also recently convicted of a fourth-degree misdemeanor drunken driving charge.

Fortunately, the aide did not injure other drivers when he crashed into a bridge pillar while driving northbound on Interstate 35E. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dropped additional charges against the aide. However, he will be on supervised probation for a year.

Although embarrassing — and reported in several newspapers — the incident will probably not affect the merits of the aide’s pending employment dispute. In that case, the staffer claims he was wrongly fired after his affair with former GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch was discovered. The staffer is alleging several theories, including gender discrimination for being treated differently from female co-workers who had similar relationships with state lawmakers.

The incident also serves to remind readers that Minnesota’s Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act offers certain protections to employees. Notably, employers may not automatically terminate an employee on the basis of a blood-alcohol test result. Rather, the employee typically must be given an opportunity to participate in employer-provided substance abuse treatment.

If you have been wrongfully terminated on the basis of a blood-alcohol screen, an employment lawyer can fight to restore your rights. An attorney will hold employers accountable for any pretextual adverse actions, hopefully resulting in a sizable recovery for the wronged employee. In some instances, an attorney might also be able to negotiate restoring an employee to his or her former position.

Source: Star Tribune, “Fired Senate aide Brodkorb admits to drunken driving,” Paul Walsh, March 13, 2013.

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