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RIGHTS BLOG: Updates from the Department of Human Rights

 

MDHR Makes Dramatic Progress in Completing Investigations and Reducing Backlog of Older Cases

Posted on 7/23/15

MDHR reduces average time to reach a determination to 266 days while simultaneously reducing the number of cases older than one year by 95%.

ST. PAUL, MN – The Minnesota Department of Human Rights continues to make major progress in completing more investigations, reducing the time to investigate claims of discrimination, and by dramatically reducing the inventory of its oldest cases.

MDHR, by focusing on process improvements, made dramatic gains in completing more investigations and closing the Department’s oldest cases.  In the four year’s prior to Commissioner Kevin Lindsey’s appointment, MDHR issued 1,080 case determinations.  Over the last four years, MDHR has more than doubled the number of determinations with 2,624 case determinations issued by the Department. Three years ago, the Department had 842 cases under investigation, now, that number has been more than halved to 390.

“Since 2011, the Department’s staff has been very focused on being more efficient in investigating cases and closing the  long standing backlog of investigations with dramatically positive results,” said MDHR Commissioner Kevin Lindsey said.  “Discrimination is unfortunately still a reality in Minnesota, and this is why the work of the Department to provide timely investigations regarding complaints of discrimination is important.”

The Department’s newest legislative report for the first half of 2015 (January-June) illustrates the results of the Department’s efforts to reduce the average length of time to complete its investigations and to reduce the number of cases older than one year in its inventory. 

In just the past year (June 2014 –June 2015), the Department reduced the average time to reach a determination by 112 days, to 266 days.  In comparison, during the 2010 calendar year the Department averaged slightly more than 400 days to complete an investigation.

At the end of June 2012, the Department had 228 cases under investigation that were older than one year.  Now, only 12 cases remain, which is a 95% drop. 
Individuals who believe they have been illegally discriminated against can contact at the Department’s intake unit at (651) 539-1100.  For more information on the MDHR Report to the Legislature, visit mn.gov/mdhr or follow the conversation at Twitter or Facebook.


MDHR Communications Team Honored for Excellence

Posted on 7/10/15

MDHR was honored for its excellence in communications with several awards for its work in 2014 at the Minnesota Government Communications Association Northern Lights Awards in May. 

The Northern Lights Awards recognize outstanding work in government, educational, non-profit communications and to provide valuable feedback for all entries from qualified judges who are communications professionals.
 
same sex couple exchanging wedding ringsMDHR Communications received an Award of Excellence for its news release and an Award of Merit for its risk communication plan on the release for the case, which was the first Same-Sex Marriage Discrimination Case in August 2014. MDHR implemented a multi-agency coordinated communications plan to accommodate public and media interest in the first same-sex marriage discrimination case, prevent protests of the wedding and to provide increased awareness of the law in the area of public accommodations.
 
“Your consideration for all of the parties involved, and your focus on using this as a crucial opportunity for educating the public on what the law does and does not require, is stellar,” stated a MAGC judge.  “This project was a great illustration of how complex the work (of communications professionals) can be, and what excellent judgment and execution looks like.”

MDHR also received the Best for Least award for its work on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which included a blog on the anniversary, a blog reflecting on the Act, a social media campaign on the history of the Act, a video contest, a Living the Legacy television program and a Living the Legacy commentary program.
 
“Kudos goes to the person who decided that the agency should commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act by focusing on Minnesotans who played a role,” said a MAGC judge. “It is no exaggeration to say that you have preserved a piece of Minnesota history with this video featuring those individuals.”
 

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