FAQ about Affirmative Action Plans & Certificates of Compliance

Frequently Asked Questions about Affirmative Action Plans & Certificates of Compliance

Topics covered here include: affirmative action plans and certificates of compliance. If you have a question that is not covered here, and think others would benefit from, submit it to our Compliance Unit.

What is an affirmative action plan?

An affirmative action plan is a set of goal-oriented management polices and procedures to eliminate barriers to employment opportunities for minorities, women and qualified disabled persons that are not based on specific job requirements.

Who must have a certified affirmative action plan?

Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, Section 363A.36, organizations who have more than 40 full-time employees in Minnesota on a single working day during the previous 12 months, must have a certificate of compliance issued by the Commissioner of the Department of Human Rights before a state contract or agreement for goods or services in excess of $100,000 can be executed.

Who can have a certified affirmative action plan?

Any company or other organization with employees in Minnesota can apply for a certificate of compliance. Regardless of the size of your company or whether you do business with the state of Minnesota, you may benefit from participating in the certification program.

How is the certificate of compliance obtained?

A copy of the business' affirmative action plan is submitted to the Department. Once it has been reviewed and approved, a certificate, valid for four years will be issued.

What is the annual compliance report? When is it due?

Even though certificates of compliance are valid for four years, to remain in compliance a business must report annually to the Department with a completed annual compliance report. The deadline for this annual report is one year after the certificate of compliance was issued, and one is due each year on the anniversary date that the certificate of compliance was issued by the Department. Four (4) annual reports will be due during the certification period.

When is a certificate of compliance required?

A certificate of compliance is required before the contract can be executed. An affirmative action plan must be submitted to the Department prior to the bid opening or submission of a proposal.

Are cities, counties and school districts required to obtain certificates of compliance?

No, they are political subdivisions and are exempt by definition from business in the statute.

What is the requirement for businesses that employ more than 40 full-time employees, but not in Minnesota?

If the business has more than 40 full-time employees within the state where their primary place of business is located, they must either have a previously issued certificate of compliance or certify to the contracting state agency that they are in compliance with federal affirmative action requirements.

Do businesses that employ more than 40 full-time employees, but not in the United States, need a certificate of compliance to do business with the state?


Can the Department provide assistance in developing affirmative action plans?

The Department can provide a business with a manual on how to develop an affirmative action plan and answer questions during preparation. Also, we have a brochure explaining the contract compliance program.

Does a business that has a letter of approval form with the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department, the St. Paul Human Rights Department or the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) need a certificate of compliance to do business with the state?

Yes. However, the Department can issue a certificate based on a business' compliance with these human rights agencies.

How long does it take to get a certificate of compliance?

The Department will notify the business within 15 days of receipt of the affirmative action plan. This notification will either be a deficiency letter or certificate of compliance. (If no deficiencies, the certificate of compliance will usually be issued within several days of receipt of the affirmative action plan). If there are deficiencies, depending on when the business corrects their deficiencies will depend on when the business gets certified.

Do you have a poster?

Yes, we provide a poster to contractors when we send their certificate of compliance.

What if the contractor does not meet its affirmative action goals?

The determination of a contractor's compliance status is based on good faith efforts to meet goals. There are no quotas in state affirmative action plans. If good faith efforts have not been made the Department can suspend or revoke a contractor's certificate of compliance.

What is the Department of Human Rights' legal authority?

Minnesota Statutes §363A.36 and §363A.37 and Minnesota Rules 5000.3535 to 5000.3600