Walz orders protections against discrimination for workers in unsafe conditions amid COVID-19

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz is ordering employers not to discriminate or retaliate against workers raising concerns over unsafe working conditions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Workers should not have to sacrifice their health and safety for economic security," read the order. "It is important for workers to raise safety and health concerns freely and without fear of retaliation. Workers should be protected from loss of income if they refuse to work under unsafe or unhealthy conditions."

Walz signed the new order Wednesday, the same day he announced the extension of the peacetime emergency and the reopening of more businesses.

According to the order, employers also cannot discriminate or retaliate over workers for wearing gloves or other protective gear. Workers can also refuse to work under conditions that they believe may be unsafe. Such situations should be reported to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, which can enforce the provisions outlined in the order. 

The protections described in the order are applicable to all workers regardless of immigration status.

Once approved by the Executive Council, the order goes into effect immediately.