Press Release

For Immediate Release: August 7, 2013

MDHR Conducts More Investigations, Reduces Backlog

Efficiency improves 63 percent over 2012, stated MDHR's Semi-Annual report to the Legislature

ST. PAUL, MN – The Minnesota Department of Human Rights completed more investigations and reduced the backlog of its older cases, the Department announced in a report submitted to the Legislature this week.

In the Department's semi-annual report for the first half of 2013, Commissioner Kevin Lindsey outlined the Department's ongoing progress in streamlining its enforcement efforts. In the past six months, MDHR issued 405 investigation memoranda, which is an increase of 17 percent over the previous reporting period and a 63 percent increase in the number of investigation memoranda completed over the first six months of 2012. MDHR's increased efficiency efforts align with Governor Mark Dayton's common sense reforms by providing Minnesotans a Better Value for their tax dollars.

For the first time in two years, MDHR closed more cases than were filed. Over the past six months, 367 charges were filed with MDHR and 381 cases were closed.

"MDHR's determinations of cases are outpacing the new filings resulting in the backlog decreasing," said Commissioner Lindsey. "This dedication to efficiency will ensure that the Department continues to reduce the backlog of older cases and the time to reach a determination."

The number of cases pending a determination decreased 5 percent in the first half of 2013 compared to the last half of 2012. At the same time, there was a 6 percent reduction in the number of pending cases that were over a year old. As a result, during the past six months, the average time to reach a determination for all cases increased to 426 days, which was an increase over the prior six months.

"While the average time to reach a determination is over a year, it is important to note that the backlog decreased 5 percent (pending cases) and the number of cases over a year old decreased by 6 percent," Lindsey said. "With continued commitment to efficiency, you can anticipate a steady decline in the number of cases over a year old.

" More positive results included:

  • As of June 30, 2013, 808 cases were pending determination. This 5 percent decrease from the previous reporting period is indicative of increased efficiency that is reducing the number of Minnesotans waiting for a resolution to their discrimination claims.
  • The first half of 2013 saw a 6 percent reduction in the number of pending cases more than a year old. Of cases pending determination, 80 percent were less than one year old. 220 were less than 90 days old; 131 cases were 91-180 days old; 141 were 181-270 days old; 157 were 271-365 days old; and 159 were older than 365 days.
  • This period saw 14 percent of determinations result in a favorable outcome for the claimant. The determinations of cases closed reached the following results: In 15 cases (4 percent), parties were able to reach a settlement agreement. 15 cases (4 percent) were closed with a probable cause determination and 24 cases (6 percent) were resolved before a determination was made. 20 cases (5 percent) were dismissed, 21 cases (6 percent) were withdrawn, and in 286 cases (75 percent) it was determined there was no probable cause.

The Department continues its efforts to resolve more cases through mediation. In the past six months, nearly twice as many cases were referred to mediation.

  • MDHR referred 29 cases to mediation (8 percent of all new charges filed), compared to only 15 in the final six months of 2012.
  • The average time for a mediated case to reach a settlement was 99 days.

Of the 367 charges filed with MDHR during the past six months, more charges were filed on the basis of disability – 28 percent - than on any other protected characteristic. But almost as many charges were filed on the basis of race – 27 percent. Gender discrimination was alleged in 13 percent of charges filed, followed closely by age (12 percent) and national origin charges (12 percent). Although sexual orientation was on the minds of many Minnesotans as the state debated same-sex marriage, only 3 percent of charges filed with MDHR during the first six months of 2013 were based on sexual orientation.


For more information please contact Christine Dufour, or 651-539-1118.

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