Veterans and Servicemembers
Minnesota State Laws
Minnesota State law also protects armed service personnel from employment discrimination. A Minnesota employer may not ask persons seeking employment if they are a member of the National Guard or a reserve component of the United States Armed Forces, nor can an employer require a person seeking employment to make any oral or written statement concerning their National Guard or reserve status as a condition precedent to employment. Under Minnesota law, employers are prohibited from discharging any person from employment because of membership in the military or naval forces. Employers are also prohibited from hindering or preventing any employee from enlisting in or performing military service.
If you are an employee of the State of Minnesota, political subdivision, municipal corporation, or another type of public employee, and you are called to service, you are entitled to leaves of absence of at least four years, and in some cases more. You are also protected from certain losses of pay, seniority status, efficiency status, vacation benefits, sick leave, and other benefits when you serve in training or active service. In order to qualify for such protection, however, you must apply for reemployment within 90 days after termination of service. Qualification for such protection also requires that the position has not been eliminated, that you are not disabled from performing the position, and that you were honorably discharged. If you receive a leave of absence for military service, you may also receive certain protections regarding your pension rights. For instance, service credits can be continued through the leave period as long as you make the required pension contributions that would have been otherwise required had you worked during that time period. Finally, if you are a veteran, you may not be removed from public employment except for incompetence or misconduct, which must be proved through a special hearing process allotted to veterans.
Public employees who serve in training or active service for the Reserves or National Guard for less than 15 days in a calendar year are entitled to serve without loss of pay, seniority status, and other benefits during such limited leaves of absence.
With regard to certain public positions, Minnesota law also provides preferences that can be used by veterans, spouses of deceased veterans, and spouses of disabled veterans. If you receive a veterans preference, and a public employer rejects you, the public employer must notify you in writing of the reasons for the rejection and file the notice with the appropriate local personnel officer.
Under Minnesota law, if you are a veteran, and you have been denied veterans preference rights by the State of Minnesota or any political subdivision or other public employer, the Commissioner of Veterans Affairs may assist you.
Minnesota law provides that if you are a service member called to duty, you may withdraw from post-secondary courses and receive a credit for certain tuition and fees already paid. You may also receive a refund for certain amounts paid for room, board, and fees attributable to the time in active military service. You may elect to receive an “incomplete” for a given course, which you may complete upon completion of your active service or any medical treatment that may be necessary. In the event that you choose to continue and complete a course for full credit, class sessions that you miss in order to perform active military service must be counted as excused absences. Such absence may not be used in any way to adversely impact your grade or standing in the class. Under this option, however, you are not automatically excused from completing assignments, and a grade may only be awarded if, in the opinion of the faculty member teaching the course, you have completed sufficient work and have demonstrated sufficient progress towards meeting the course requirements to justify a grade.
In the event you choose to withdraw from a post-secondary school due to military service, you have the right to be readmitted and reenrolled as a student at the institution without penalty or re-determination of admission eligibility within two years following your release from military service, or completion of medical treatment, or sufficient recovery from the medical condition. Advance notice that you will be serving in active military service is required unless that notice is precluded by military or medical necessity. A post-secondary institution can require verification of an order to active service.
Minnesota law provides additional education benefits for veterans and their dependents. Some of these benefits include:
- Veterans may receive up to $750 for tuition charges from the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs;
- Spouses and children of veterans who died in active service may attend certain Minnesota post-secondary institutions free of tuition charges and may receive an educational assistance stipend of up to $750 per year from the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs;
- Dependents of a POW/MIA may attend Minnesota public post-secondary institutions free of tuition charges. If they choose a private undergraduate institution, they may receive up to $250 per year in assistance;
- Veterans may receive educational credit from post-secondary institutions for training that they received in the military;
- Veterans are granted resident status for undergraduate study at University of Minnesota institutions or Minnesota State Colleges and Universities;
- A veteran is granted resident status for graduate study at University of Minnesota institutions or Minnesota State Colleges and Universities if he/she was a resident of Minnesota at the time military service began, and initiates enrollment in the school within 2 years of completing the military service; and
- National Guardsmen and surviving dependents under the age of 24 who are attending post-secondary educational institutes may obtain certain reimbursement for tuition and textbook costs.
You may contact the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs as follows:
Minnesota Department of Veteran’s Affairs
20 West 12th Street, Room 206
St. Paul, MN 55155
1-888-LinkVet (546-5838) for all Veteran-related questions
If you are a service member who has been called to active duty, cell phone or wireless contracts may be terminated without penalty. In addition, rental contracts, club contracts, service contracts, and membership travel contracts may be canceled without penalty and with a full refund of any deposit if a deployment or change in duty prevents a service member from using the service or abiding by the terms of the contract. This includes services such as television, computer, or Internet services.
Minnesota law prohibits discrimination in public accommodations or public services. If you are a member of the military forces, no person may discriminate against you because of your membership in the military or because you are wearing a military uniform. Such discrimination is classified as a misdemeanor. In addition, the law also authorizes a person injured as a result of such discrimination to bring a private legal action.
In the event that your driver’s license expires while you are called to active duty outside Minnesota, your driver’s license continues in full force and effect without requirement for renewal until one year after your separation or discharge from such duty.
Minnesota law provides that if you are a person in active military service, your motor vehicle is exempt from the motor vehicle registration tax during the period of such active service and for 90 days thereafter. You must file with the registrar of motor vehicle a written application for exemption with proof of military service. The motor vehicle cannot be operated on a public highway within the State during the time of exemption except by its owner while on furlough or leave of absence from the military. Additionally, any motor vehicle that has been furnished for free by the U.S. government to a disabled war veteran is exempt from the motor vehicle registration tax.
If you are a service member on active duty, you are exempt from any fees or renewal requirements necessary to maintain a license or certificate to practice a certain trade, employment, occupation, or profession during the time that you are serving in the military and for a period of six months after discharge.
The officer charged with maintaining your records must provide certified copies of your birth, death, marriage, divorce, or discharge records, free of charge, for use in presenting claims to the United States Veteran’s Administration, State Department of Veterans Affairs, or any other veteran organization.