The Human Rights Act, Minnesota’s comprehensive civil rights law declares that certain types of differential treatment are unfair discriminatory practices. Laws governing discrimination in employment are very similar to that of many other states. Discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, status with regard to public assistance, disability or age is considered unlawful.
It is also a violation of the act and Minnesota (MN) job discrimination law in the workplace to aid or abet another in committing illegal discrimination; take reprisal against a person for filing a charge, participating in an investigation, or opposing illegal discrimination; or to take reprisal against a person because of their association with persons who have disabilities or who are of a different race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation or national origin.
The employment provisions limit collection and use of information about disabilities and require many employers to make reasonable accommodations for disabilities. Equitable treatment of pregnancy – related conditions is required. Under Minnesota (MN) job discrimination law employers, employment agencies and labor organizations are expected to prohibit sexual harassment; and prohibit interference with pension rights. Harassment of an individual or group of individuals also falls under anti-discrimination laws.
Minnesota (MN) job discrimination law covers all aspects of employment practices from recruiting procedures to termination. When recruiting such as in advertising or interviewing employers or employment agencies may not classify individuals or attempt to exclude certain individuals. All employees should be afforded the same rate of pay, compensation and other terms of employment for the same work performed. Employees cannot be discharged without cause on the sole basis of race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation or national origin. For an employer, employment agency or labor organization to comply with requests to screen or refer applicants on a discriminatory basis would be a violation.
The Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) covers the Minnesota sexual discrimination law in the workplace. It applies to employers, labor organizations and employment agencies with one or more employees. This differs from federal law because Title VII applies only to those employers who have fifteen or more employees. Employees are defined under this law as individuals who are employed by employers as defined above.
Under the MHRA employers, labor organizations and employment agencies are prohibited from hiring or firing on the basis of an individual’s sex. They also cannot determine promotions, working conditions or compensation based on the employee’s sex. Basically, it means that employers cannot treat their employees different because of their gender.
Anyone who has a claim can do so with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights within 365 days of the alleged human rights violation. To help you determine if you have a legitimate claim, you can go to the Department’s website and use their interactive guide to employment discrimination.
To file a claim, you will have to fill out a questionnaire with details of the incident. The Department will then draft a complaint and have you get it notarized. This complaint will then be sent, along with a letter, to your employer to give him or her a chance to respond to the complaint. From there, the Department will investigate the claims and the Commissioner of Human Rights will make a “reasonable cause” or “no reasonable cause” decision on the matter. If the Commissioner finds reasonable cause, you and your employer will enter a settlement phase. On the account that you are unable to settle the case, a judge will hear the case and render a decision.
People working in St. Paul or Minneapolis may choose to file with the St. Paul Human Rights Department or the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights instead of the state department.
Employers and employees need to take the time to find out their rights and responsibilities. Employers also need to keep an updated version of the Minnesota Labor Law Poster posted in the workplace.
Labor laws concerning discrimination experience changes nearly every year. Minnesota’s employers are required to put up posters at the business explaining discrimination if they have at least one employee. The Minnesota Complete Labor Law poster is available to reflect all the most current state, federal, and OSHA laws. Most Federal labor laws concerning discrimination against age, disabilities, child labor, worker’s compensation, and other types of discrimination were put into place in the 1970s. But these laws undergo revisions all the time, and employees must be made aware of their rights.
In addition to the Federal Discrimination Acts, there are Minnesota state requirements that must be followed by every employer. OSHA requires posting of these state labor laws as well, so employers must display both in order to be in compliance. After all, there may be differences in the way the state and Federal laws read.
I noticed that Minnesota’s law prohibits employers giving preference to older workers over younger ones. This is often called reverse age discrimination, and under Federal law it is not prohibited. The Federal government’s Age Discrimination in Employment Act protects workers over age 40. But the state chose to cover younger employees under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, which has been in existence since 1955. This is an interesting example of the way the state and the Federal government can treat the subject of discrimination in the workplace.
The discrimination notice says that an employer cannot discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation (including by definition, gender identity), status with regard to public assistance, disability or age.
In my opinion, with over 1.45 Minnesotans being past the age of 50 and 680,000 Minnesotans disabled—and that’s just two examples– a lot of people need to know about discrimination in the workplace. Information about changes in scheduling, job reassignment, or other methods of accommodating employees need to be made available to them, but at the same time employers do not have to suffer “undue hardship” in order to accommodate those employees.