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Purposes and Background 

Hiring Preference − Minn. Stat. § 197.455
“Recognizing that training and experience in the military services of the government and loyalty and sacrifice for the government are qualifications of merit which cannot be readily assessed by examination, a veteran’s preference shall be available to a veteran as defined in section 197.447.”

Employment Security Provisions

“. . . to protect honorably discharged veterans from the ravages of the political spoils system.”  Johnson v. Village of Cohasset, 263 Minn. 425, 116 N.W.2d 692 (1962).

Interpretation

Remedial statutes, to be broadly interpreted. Winberg v. University of Minnesota, 499 N.W.2d 799 (Minn. 1993).

Current Need

Unemployment rate among Minnesota veterans in 2013 was 5 percent, comparable to general statewide rate, but, unemployment rate for Minnesota post-9/11 veterans was 8.8 percent (Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress).  12% of Minnesota veterans lived in poverty; 8.2% lacked health insurance.

Historical Overview

Original 1907 statute: Preference in appointments for any veteran “of good moral character;” nondiscrimination based on disability or age for veterans “not incompetent to perform” the job’s duties; private suit for damages and right of mandamus; absolute preference in hiring.

No removal “except for incompetency or misconduct shown after a hearing,” with burden of proof “upon the party alleging the same.”

“Veterans Preference Act” is a Misnomer – it’s a Collection of Statutes

Disabled/Nondisabled Credit (Minn. Stat. § 197.455, subd. 4);
Right to Notice and Hearing Before Removal (Minn. Stat. § 197.46);
Direct Appointment to State Jobs (Minn. Stat. § 43A.111);
Preference in Hiring to State Jobs (Minn. Stat. § 43A.11);
Recruitment to State Jobs (Minn. Stat. § 43A.09);
Preference in Private Sector Jobs (Minn. Stat. § 197.4551);
​Preference in State/County Contracts (Minn. Stat. § 161.321).

Who Qualifies

Honorably discharged veteran, as determined by U.S. Secretaryof Defense. Minn. Stat. § 197.447;
Citizen or resident alien;
Active duty service for 181 consecutive days OR disabled while in service;
Public employee (state, county, city, town; includes quasi-governmental entities, e.g. Met Council, School Districts).
State employees for REMOVAL provision; difference rules governing preference in hiring

Nature of Appointment

i. Full-time / part-time – YES.  Statute makes no distinction; preference presumed to apply fully to part-time employees.
ii. Probationary – YES (except state employees)
Once a job formerly of limited duration becomes classified, it becomes subject to the VPA, even during probationary period.  State ex rel. Sprague v. Heise, 243 Minn. 367, 67 N.W.2d 907 (1954); Classified state employees; only applies if completed probationary period.  Minn. Stat. § 197.455, subd. 1(b).
iii. Temporary – NO (not considered employment under the Veterans Preference Act, per court decision) — defined as employment for a fixed term, or where job ends upon completion of defined task; a question of fact. Crnkovich v. Independent Sch. Dist. No. 701, 273 Minn. 518, 142 N.W.2d 284 (1966). Employer met burden of proving seasonal park maintenance workers were “temporary,” where new application was required every season, even though significant numbers of employees rehired from year to year and some were given job without the need to fill out new application.  Christopherson v. City of Albert Lea, OAH No. 12-3100-14431-2 (Sept. 2001).
iv. Surviving spouse or spouse of disabled veteran unable to work.
1. Disability must be service related for inability to work purposes.  2. Death need not be service related for “surviving spouse” purposes.

PRACTICE POINT FOR EMPLOYERS: Ask on all applications for jobs subject to VPA whether applicant qualifies and wishes to claim veteran’s preference; define “veteran” (i.e. includes the surviving spouse of an honorably discharged veteran and spouse of disabled veteran); or cite to statute or other source where applicant can determine VPA qualification.

Excluded employees

“. . . private secretary, superintendent of schools, or one chief deputy of any elected official or head of a department, or to any person holding a strictly confidential relation to the appointing officer” and probationary employees (Minn. Stat. § 197.46).

Partially Excluded – Teachers.

See Minn. Stat. § 197.455, subd. 5a and Minn. Stat. § 197.46.
i.  Only applies if hiring authority utilizes 100-point system – not mandatory; If not used, must still give qualifying veteran an interview;
ii.  Only applies to teachers, not other school district EEs;
iii.  NOTE – teacher removal not covered (Minn. Stat. § 197.46).  Significance diminished by fact that many teachers are covered by collective bargaining agreements and courts have ruled that the “incompetence or misconduct” standard is equivalent to “just cause shown.”

Private Sector?

i.   Purely voluntary.  Minn. Stat. § 197.4551. Veteran status is not protected class under Minnesota Human Rights Act (different in some other states); Permissible preference by “private, nonpublic employer”
ii.   Also preference for spouse of disabled or deceased veteran;
iii.   Savings clause.
 

1.   Granting preference under [this section] does not violate any local or state equal employment opportunity law, including, but not limited to, chapter 363A [(MHRA)].”  Minn. Stat. § 197.4551, subd. 3.
2.   No protection against suit under Title VII, ADA or ADEA

Hiring – covered employers OTHER THAN State of Minnesota

a.    Identifying Veterans – DD-214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty)
i.  No statutory obligation on part of employers to enquire;
iii.  NOTE – employer prohibited from asking about veteran status in private sector, if intent is to discriminate (Minn. Stat. § 181.535).

PRACTICE POINT FOR EMPLOYERS: ask anyway; failure to do so may result in huge back pay awards because there’s a six year limitations period on improper removal claims where employer provides no notice of right to hearing; plus it’s the right thing to do;

b.    100-point system
i.    No format specified
1.   Appointing authority has discretion to determine criteria to be considered in awarding the 100 points;  2.   May be based entirely on a written test, an oral examination, skills test or a combination of factors;  3.   Public employer may administer any type of evaluation if based on criteria capable of being reduced to a 100 point rating scale;  ​4.   Should be based on objective criteria.

PRACTICE POINT FOR EMPLOYERS: be sure to have an up-to-date position description to aid in this process.

c.    Credit
i.    Veteran
1.   10 points added to “competitive open examination.” Minn. Stat. § 197.455, subd. 4 (as distinguished from promotional exam)

ii.    Disabled Veteran
1.   “[A] person who has a compensable service-connected disability as adjudicated by the United States Veterans Administration, or by the retirement board of one of the several branches of the armed forces, which disability is existing at the timepreference is claimed.”  Minn. Stat. § 197.455, subd. 6;
2.   15 points added to competitive open examination. Id., subd. 5;
3.   5 points added to competitive promotional examination.  Id., subd. 6;
*  Usable just once after having secured position.
*Must be entitled to disability compensation for a permanent service related disability rated at 50% or more. (Special rule for promotional exam; no minimum disability rating for open exam preference).
iii.     Spouse of deceased / disabled veteran
1.   Statute doesn’t say, but assume 15 points (deceased = disabled).
iv.     Veteran may disclaim credit. Minn. Stat. § 197.455, subd. 9.

d.   When “scoring” starts
i.     Application / Supplemental Questions – No.
ii.     “Competitive open examination rating”
1.    What is a “competitive open examination”?
*Open to the public;
*Competition in a selection process and appointment from a finalist pool;
*Selection criteria and methods for filling positions shall be job related and designed to fairly assess ability to perform the duties of the vacant position;
*Balfanz case, October 2014 – Applicant for parks supervisor position in St. Paul raised VPA challenge after city changed position from “open” to “internal” after soliciting candidates; If “open”, Balfanz would have had highest score with his VPA credit; Balfanz did not get the job; ALJ and VA Comr’r. sided with Balfanz, saying city should have afforded Balfanz his VPA credit.  City must start over with hiring process.

e. When preference points not to be awarded / considered.
1.   If veteran did not pass the examination without benefit of VPA points ;
2.   Interview.
iv.     Interview v. Examination
1.   Fitness for the job v. ability to perform the job (generally).
2.   “We agree an interview may serve as the equivalent of an exam, but think that for the purposes of employment within the state civil service system, an ‘open competitive examination rating’ contemplates the formal exam application and listing procedures set forth in Minn. Stat. § 43A.10, .12–.13 and Minn. R. 3900.4100–4700 (1991).”  McAfee v. Dep’t of Revenue, 514 N.W.2d, 301, 304 (Minn. Ct. App. 1994).
v.     Veteran receives preference when “ties” in scoring with non-veteran.
vi.     BUT  a preference not a guarantee of employment.  Bentzen v. Hennepin County, OAH 4-3100-21648-2, 4-3100- 21444-2 (Feb. 2011).
1.  Employer free to select any “certified” applicant. Hall v. City of Champlin, 463 N.W.2d 502 (1990);
2.   100 point test may be used simply to determine who gets interviewed.

PRACTICE POINT FOR EMPLOYERS: criteria for interviews should be put in writing.
3.   Any number of points may be awarded to other categories of employees (based on residency, protected class status), even if doing so effectively wipes out veteran’s preference.
Case study – Jacob Bonniwell v. City of St. Paul, OAH No. 67-3100-23003 (Dec. 2013) (“expanded certification;” set number of applicants selected after credits are added to passing scores based on numerical cut off; then separately a number of “protected class” members is selected for interview, based on their scores, effectively removing from consideration white able-bodied veteran applicants; practical effect is to create two lists; argument was not addressed by ALJ in published opinion; real harm – lower scoring minorities after Bonniwell’s points were awared were afforded interviews).

f.   Rejection; explanation for reasons in writing.
i.     Minn. Stat. § 197.455, subd. 10.
ii.     Minn. Stat. § 43A.11 (state employees)

g.     VPA Preemption – “Any law contrary is void.” i. Affirmative action plans / Expanded certification – Bonniwell debate.

Hiring – State of Minnesota

a.   Applicants who meet “the minimum qualifications” must be listed in the applicant pool ahead of others as follows: (1) disabled veterans; (2) nondisabled veterans; (3) nonveterans.
b.   Recently Separated Veterans / State Personnel Management.  Minn. Stat. § 43A.11.
i.     Applicable for State employment – but not municipal;
1.   The term “recently separated veteran” means a veteran, as defined in section 197.447, who has served in active military service, at any time on or after September 11, 2001, and who has been honorably discharged from active service, as shown by the person’s form DD-214.
2.   Each recently separated veteran who meets minimum qualifications for a vacant position and has claimed veterans or disabled veterans preference must be considered for the position.  The top five recently separated veterans must be granted an interview for the position by the hiring authority
3. Spouses of deceased/disabled veterans likewise covered.

Removals
a.   No covered veteran “shall be removed from such position or employment except for incompetence or misconduct shown after a hearing, upon due notice, upon stated charges, in writing.”  Minn. Stat. § 197.46

​​b.   What is a removal?
i.     Discharge
ii.     Suspension, where terms of reinstatement are impossible to satisfy.  Harr v. City of Edina, 541 N.W.2d 603 (Minn. App. 1996);
iii.     Demotion. Leininger v. City of Bloomington, 299 N.W.2d 723 (Minn. 1980); Defined as a change in job duties which lowers a veteran’s rank, grade or position. Ammend v. County of Isanti, 486 N.W.2d 3 (Minn. App. 1992).

c.    What isn’t a removal?
i.     Good Faith Abolishment of Position. State ex rel. Caffrey v. Metropolitan Airports Commission, 310 Minn. 480, 246 N.W.2d 637 (1976)
1.    Abolishment of a village health department position and reassignment of the duties to an independent contractor with resultant substantial cost savings and elimination of rivalries in the department was a good faith abolishment of the veteran’s position. State ex rel. Niemi v. Thomas, 223 Minn. 435, 27 N.W.2d 155 (1947);
2.    Reassigning job duties to less senior nonveteran employees does not constitute good faith abolishment of position.  Young v. City of Duluth, 410 N.W.2d 27 (Minn. App. 1987).
ii.     Disciplinary suspension, with or without pay.  Harr v. Edina.
iii.     Employees who “voluntarily resign without good cause attributable to the employer.”
1.   Tharalson v. Bloomington Indep. Sch. Dist., C1-02-2218 (Minn. App. June 17, 2003) (unpublished) (20 month absence and failure to return multiple calls deemed a quit, not removal, so no right to a hearing);
2.   Brula v. St. Louis County,  587 N.W.2d 859, A10-61 (Minn. App. 1999)(unpublished) (veteran employee who resigned due to service related PTSD not entitled to hearing);
3.   Little v. Arrowhead Reg’l Corr., (Minn. App. 2011) (unpublished) (failure to supply required medical records in post-FMLA request for disability leave constitutes quit, where CBA deems 3 day or longer absence a quit);
4.   Johnson v. Anoka County, 536 N.W.2d 336 (Minn. App. 1995)(quit or be fired ultimatum renders resignation a “removal” for VPA purposes);
5.   Higbee v. St. Louis County, OAH No. 4-3100-12604-2 (May 2000)(reduction from full-time to part-time status, made in good faith, is not “good cause” to resign requiring employer to provide notice of right to hearing).
iv.     Reversing a decision to promote that violated entity’s personnel administration system procedures.  Ochocki v. Dakota County Sheriff’s Dept., 454 N.W.2d 476 (Minn. App. 1990). Dissent – employee held position for a YEAR, so was not temporary, and to transfer job duties to a co-worker is not an abolition of the position.
v.     “Voluntary demotion” of employee who goes on indefinite medical leave and is re-employed to lower level position; lost employee status upon taking leave and so was not “removed.”  Andersonv. City of Minneapolis, 503 N.W.2d 780) (Minn. 1983).

d.   Incompetence Defined
i.     “Lack of ability, legal qualification, or fitness to discharge the required duty.” Myers v. Oakdale, 409 N.W.2d 848 (Minn. 1987)) (citing dictionary);
ii.     Includes physical inability to perform job duties due to injury or sickness.  Myers;
iii.     Includes want of “intellectual or moral fitness.” Myers;

PRACTICE POINT FOR EMPLOYERS: In drafting a notice of intent to discharge based on misconduct, consider an incompetence charge citing lack of moral fitness based on the demonstrated misconduct; “moral fitness” for the job is subjective and the review panel may be more deferential to employer’s determination of moral/ethical qualifications for the job.

e.   Misconduct Defined
i.     Same as “just cause” standard developed in labor law under collective bargaining agreements.  Cass County v. Law Enforcement Labor Services, Inc., 353 N.W.2d 627 (Minn. Ct. App. 1984);
ii.     Difficulties from personality and philosophical disagreements with superiors would not warrant dismissal of officer for misconduct.  State ex rel. Jenson v. Civil Service Commission of City of Minneapolis, 268 Minn. 536, 130 N.W.2d 143 (1964).

f.     Notice of Right to Contest
i.     Must provide employee notice of intent to remove, and right to request hearing within 30 days.
1.   Employee must be paid during that time period;
2.   Payment requirement continues up through final adjudication of claim by Panel or ALJ after hearing, and potentially beyond (e.g. if prevails and employer appeals to District Court and higher courts);
3.   Failure to provide notice extends employee’s time in which to request hearing within limitations period (6 years); extends right to pay (and claim for back-pay) as well.

PRACTICE POINT FOR EMPLOYEES: right to pay through final adjudication can provide leverage for settlement.
ii. Content of Request
1. Employee must request hearing in writing, and deliver via personal service or by mail.  Minn. Stat. § 197.46;
2. Request must contain designation of his/her panelist, if applicable (i.e., not subject to civil service board or commission);

PRACTICE POINT FOR EMPLOYERS: as per new statutory change, if the government entity does not employ a civil service board or commission, it must advise the employee in the notice of intent to discharge that the employee must designate a panelist within 60 days.

PRACTICE POINT FOR EMPLOYEES: as per new statutory change, failure to designate employee’s panelist renders request for a hearing to contest removal void and ineffective – beware, this is a trap for the unwary.

g.   Who Conducts Hearing?  Minn. Stat. § 197.46.
i.     Hearing officer

4.   if no agreement on neutral within 10 days, any district court judge may appoint on petition of either party

PRACTICE POINT FOR EMPLOYERS: appointing an employee of the city or county, or even a member of a law firm that represented it in the past, has been deemed a conflict of interest, entitling employee to a new hearing.  LeDoux v. Louis County, No. A07-1160 (Minn. App. July 2008)(unpublished).
ii.     Civil Service Commission or Board for governmental subdivisions having one (e.g. Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington, Duluth, Anoka County).
iii.     By agreement, parties may waive right to panel and designate a “panel of one” or request a hearing before an ALJ designated by the Department of Veterans Affairs, in which case the Administrative Procedure Act rules govern, which address (among other things) discovery.
iv.     “Depends” if ordered following employer denial and employee petition.
1.   If following petition to Veterans Affairs, the ALJ issuing the ruling will conduct the hearing pursuant to Administrative Procedure Act;
2.   If following writ of mandamus by trial court, a panel or civil service commission (as is applicable).

h.   Burden of proof
i.     In removal case, court determines if employer “acted reasonably,” with burden of proof on employer.  Matter of Schrader, 394 N.W.2d 796 (Minn. 1986)); Myers v. City of Oakdale; State ex rel. Lund v. City of Bemidji, 209 Minn. 91, 295 N.W. 514 (Minn. 1940) (party alleging misconduct or incompetency bears burden of showing the same);
ii.     Employer bears burden of proving affirmative defense that position was eliminated in good faith for a legitimate purpose. State, ex rel. Caffrey v. Metropolitan Airport Commission, 246 N.W.2d 637 (Minn. 1976);
iii.     “hearing board is to be guided by such considerations as veteran’s conduct, effect upon the work place and work environment, and effect upon veteran’s competency and fitness for the job.”  Matter of Schrader;
iv.     Standard is preponderance of the evidence.

i.     Pre-Hearing Proceedings
i.     Discovery in removal action: no right expressly under Act.
1.   Argument against – meant to be expedited proceeding; employee on payroll until it’s concluded.
2.   Argument for – basic fairness, avoid trial by ambush.
3.   Most arbitrators and Commissions (per their rules for hearing) will permit at least basic discovery – exchange of exhibits and identification of witnesses before hearing.

PRACTICE POINT FOR EMPLOYEES: Request Personnel File as per Minn. Stat. § 181.961 and discovery per Minnesota Data Practices Act.; conducting legitimate discovery may result in delay (and continued pay).
ii.     Discovery permitted in action to enforce rights.
1.   Contested case hearing before ALJ, right to discovery permitted per Rules of Civil Procedure in District Court;
2.   Difference:  party seeking discovery must affirmatively show that “the discovery is needed for the proper representation of the party’s case.” Minn. R. pt. 1400.6700, subp. 2.
iii.     Summary Disposition – similar to Summary Judgment in District Court litigation; can be based on stipulated facts where pure issue of law exists.

j.     Evidentiary issues.
i.     Rules of evidence don’t apply;hearsay generally admitted if germane, but appropriately discounted by panel; Objections can be sustained at the hearing or, at the least, signify to the review panel that certain testimony or evidence should be discounted.

PRACTICE POINT FOR EMPLOYEES: Character witnesses can help in cases where termination based on alleged misconduct;
iii.     Expert witnesses sometimes appropriate, e.g. where medical condition of employee or quality / quantity of work is at issue; increases expense.

k.    Subpoenas:
i.     ALJ or Civil Service Commission has authority to issue subpoenas;
ii.     Ad hoc panel seemingly does not have subpoena power(statute is silent), so best practice is to request subpoena from Commissioner of Veterans Affairs under Minn. Stat. § 197.481, subd. 3.

PRACTICE POINT FOR EMPLOYEES: Be mindful of the fact that most employee-side witnesses will be current employees, so a subpoena may be necessary (or desired by a co-worker who wishes not to seem aligned with a maligned employee).  Don’t assume a witness (often forced to use his or her own paid time off) will appear voluntarily.

l.     “Extenuating circumstances” – employee’s second bite at the apple.
i.     Hearing board is REQUIRED to consider whether extenuating circumstances exist to warrant the disciplinary sanction imposed by the employer (Schrader);
ii.     Hearing board may reduce penalty regardless of the reasonableness of the employer’s action (Schrader);
iii.     Examples of extenuating circumstances may include
1.   Length of service
2.   Prior work record and absence of discipline
3.   Nature of disability; PTSD?
4.   Nature and severity of offense
5.   Punishment meted out to other employees
a.   See State ex rel. Laux v. Gallagher, 527 N.W.2d 158 (Minn. App. 1995) (affirming commission’s finding of extenuating circumstances in case involving police officer terminated following sexual assault conviction; other officers guilty of misdemeanor charges not terminated, including ones convicted of domestic abuse or DWI);
b.   Compare with Wagner v. Minneapolis Public Schools, Special School Dist. No. 1, 569 N.W.2d 529 (Minn. 1997) (reversing commission’s finding of extenuating circumstances finding where “alleged similar acts were in fact so dissimilar as to provide no useful comparison”);
6.   Clarity of rule alleged to have been violated
7.   Existence of progressive discipline scheme, even if not required to be followed.

m.  Closing Arguments.
i.     At the close of evidence, summations / closing arguments are typically presented.

PRACTICE POINT: Enquire in advance whether the panel or judge prefers oral or written closing arguments; don’t assume that closing briefs will be accepted or that you will not be expected to deliver a closing argument.
iii.     Proposed findings commonly requested.

n.   Appeals
i.     To the District Court
ii.     Either party may appeal
1.   Previously,statute said only employee had right to appeal, but court made law that employer could as well; legislature recently modified VPA to make this employer right express;
iii.     Deadline to Appeal – depends
1.   15 days for Veteran or Employer
2.   A result of 2012 changes – previously per court decision 60 days for Cities of the First Class (100,000 residents or more) under Civil Service Appeal statute (Minn. Stat. § 484.01, subd. 2), and by necessary implication a variety of other, shorter deadlines for other Cities depending on size.   See Eldredge v. City of St. Paul  [Your author, Charles, argued this case unsuccessfully to the Minnesota Supreme Court; Justice Page in dissent agreed with my interpretation]

o.   Costs of Hearing
i.      Employer bears all costs.  Minn. Stat. § 197.46.
ii.     Employee responsible for his own attorneys fees, UNLESS employee prevails in reducing some level of discipline, in which case the employer is responsible for payment of the employee’s attorney fees.  Id.

Interplay with Collective Bargaining Rights

Employee may elect either a hearing or grievance, but not both.  Minn. Stat. § 197.455, subd. 1(b).

Violation of Rights – Remedy
a.   File Writ of Mandamus in district court (Minn. Stat. § 197.46); or

b.    Petition the Commissioner of Veterans Affairs (Minn. Stat. § 197.481). NOTE: This section also pertains to denials of other rights in the hiring phase (e.g., not properly awarding credits).

c.    Applies to lay-offs, where vet believes it is done in bad faith to avoid VPA provisions.

PRACTICE POINT FOR EMPLOYERS: layoff notice should state the employee has 60 days to petition the district court for a writ of mandamus compelling reinstatement and back pay if he/she believes the layoff is in bad faith; notice should also state that the vet has the alternative right to petition the Commissioner of Veterans Affairs for a hearing on the matter.

d.   Six-year limitations period in which employee may file, where no notice given to employee, regardless of whether employee is aware of his/her rights under VPA.  Johnson v. County of Anoka, 536 N.W.2d 336, 339 (Minn. Ct. App. 1995).

e.   Burden of proof on employee to show violation. Anderson v. City of Dayton, OAH No. 3-3100-15361-2 (July 2003) (citing Minn. R. 1400.7300, subp. 5). Exception for department head and other exemptions; treated as affirmative defenses with BOF on proponent (employer).

f.     Who hears the underlying case?
i.     ALJ if case arises from employee petition to VA;
ii.     Panel or Civil Service Commission if case arises from employee-filed petition for Writ of Mandamus (on “remand”).

Remedies if Successful

i.     Reinstatement;
ii.     Backpay, if employer failed to continue payment pending adjudication and attorney fees (see above);
iii.     Duty to mitigate – backpay award reduced by unemployment compensation or wages earned from alternate employment.  Kurtz v. City of Apple Valley, 290 N.W.2d 171 (1980);
iv.     Value of fringe benefits employee would have earned but for violation. Young v. City of Duluth.

Miscellaneous Statutes

a.   Unlawful to fire or threaten with termination any employee, public or private sector, for being a member of the federal or state military, or to dissuade from enlisting.  Minn. Stat. § 192.34;
b.    Unlawful to ask prospective employee about military status, if intent is to discriminate.  Minn. Stat. §181.535;
c.    Private right of action under Federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) section 1.05, subd. 5 extended to actions against a STATE. “. . . may bring a civil action against the state in federal court or another court of competent jurisdiction for legal or equitable relief that will effectuate the purposes of that act;”
d.   Service members Civil Relief Act, 50 U.S.C. § 501, et seq. (protects servicemembers from being sued while in active military duty and for up to one year after active duty; includes foreclosure);
e.   U.S. Veterans Preference Act, 5 U.S.C. § 2108a (preference for hiring veterans in federal jobs);
f.     Property Tax Exclusion for Disabled Veterans, Minn. Stat. § 273.13, subd. 34 (providing full or partial valuation property tax exclusion for homesteads of disabled veterans with a disability rating of 70 percent or greater);
g.   Minnesota Military Leave Act, Minn. Stat. § 192.26 (providing that public employees will not lose pay while on military duty in certain circumstances for up to 15 days);
h.   Leave for Immediate Family Members of Military Personnel Injured or Killed in Active Service, Minn. Stat. § 181.947 (employers must grant up to ten working days of leave without pay to an employee whose immediate family member, as a member of the armed forces, has been injured or killed while engaged in active service);
i.     Preference in hunting lottery (excludes moose, elk) (Minn. Stat. § 97A.465)
Prairie chickens?  http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/rlp/licenses/hunting/res_militarypreference.pdf

Resources
a.   Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) ALD Opinions Archive (searchable):  http://mn.gov/oah/administrative-law/Opinions/search.jsp
b.   Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs:  http://mn.gov/mdva/
c.   League of Minnesota Cities:   http://lmc.org
d.   Association of Minnesota Counties:  www.mncounties.org