For Immediate Release: August 3, 2012
Minnesota Department of Human Rights Releases Biennial Report to State Legislature
Streamlined enforcement efforts better serve Minnesotans
The Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) has submitted its biennial report on discrimination charges to the state legislature. The report, issued last week, details a 50 percent increase in the number of discrimination charges filed with the department in the last six months. The increases in claims come from virtually all types of discrimination that the department investigates, with race and sexual orientation seeing the largest increases.
Despite this increase in charges filed, MDHR is responding more quickly to claims, completing 71 percent more investigations during the same six-month time period.
This year MDHR combined its intake and enforcement units and added two additional investigators. This new streamlined enforcement effort has eliminated unnecessary paperwork, allowing charges to be drafted and investigations to begin sooner. The department also now designates some charges — those that can be investigated and resolved quickly — for a fast track process it calls "rocket docket."
"By midyear in 2012, the Department of Human Rights has already completed more investigations than in all of 2011," Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey noted. "We have also significantly reduced that number of days it takes for us to reach a determination in a charge of discrimination, which better serves both charging parties and respondents. We are committed to reducing that number further, even as the number of charges we investigate continues to increase."
The report submitted by the Department of Human Rights to the legislature shows that the number of charges filed with department in the first half of 2012 increased across the board, in virtually every category, over the previous six months.
During the past six months, the department obtained $125,928 on behalf of charging parties through settlement negotiations, an increase over the $89,500 obtained in the previous six months. MDHR is committed to resolving charges through mediation, and referred about one-quarter charges filed to its mediation process during the first six months of 2012. Of those 67 cases referred to mediation, 17 were resolved successfully.
The Department of Human Rights biennial report to the Legislature is available on the department's web site at www.humanrights.state.mn.us.
For more information please contact Jeff Holman, Minnesota Department of Human Rights, 651.539.1090, firstname.lastname@example.org
Addendum to Press Release
BY THE NUMBERS - DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS JULY 2012 LEGISLATIVE REPORT
Charges filed with Department in the first half of 2012 increased 50 percent over the previous six months, with increases in virtually every category. In the past six months, 451 charges were filed with MDHR as compared to 301 charges file the previous six months.
Charges based on race increased by more than 71 percent, from 96 in the last six months of 2011 to 165 in the first six months of 2012. These charges represented 26 percent of all charges filed in the last six months of 2012, up from 21.6 percent in the previous six months.
Charges based on sexual orientation almost tripled, from 9 in last six months of 2011 to 26 in the first six months of 2012. Charges based on sexual orientation represented 4 percent of the charges filed during the first six months of 2012, compared to 2 percent in the previous six months.
Charges in the area of public accommodations almost tripled in the first six months of 2012 over the last six months of 2011. There were 44 such charges, compared to 15 in the previous six months. A "place of public accommodation" is a business, entertainment, recreation, or transportation facility of any kind that is available to the public. The majority the public accommodations charges filed in the first six months of 2012 were based on race. The complete report is available here on the department's web site (PDF 126kb).