A Guide to Employment Discrimination: Reason
Why do you think the discrimination happened?
(There may be more than one reason; if so, you may wish to work through this exercise again, using another reason.)
I belive the discrimination happened because of my:
Why are these categories important?
The Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) recognizes these "protected classes" in cases of employment discrimination.
If an employer refuses to hire you, terminates you, or treats you differently in terms of wages, promotion opportunities, or other terms of employment, your employer's action is not illegal discrimination under the MHRA unless it happened because of one of these reasons.
Are there other characteristics that are protected under the Human Rights Act?
Only the characteristics listed here are protected in cases of employment discrimination.
"Familial status" is another characteristic protected by the Human Rights Act, but only in cases involving housing discrimination. This protection generally prohibits landlords from refusing to rent to parents with children.
What does reprisal mean?
Reprisal is retaliation, such as intimidation, harassment, or other adverse treatment, motivated by conduct protected under the Human Rights Act. Protected conduct includes filing a charge, opposing discrimination, participating in an investigation of alleged discrimination, and similar activities; and associating with persons of a different race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation or national origin, or persons who have disabilities.
Reprisal is prohibited regardless of whether there was any merit to the complaint of discrimination that led to the retaliation.
Are only certain kinds of people protected?
The Human Rights Act protects everyone in Minnesota. Everyone has a race and a sex, for example, and if they experience discrimination because of their race or sex, they are protected.
In some cases, you are protected under the Human Rights Act even if you don't have the particular characteristic at issue — if you are perceived as having that characteristic. If you are fired, or other adverse job action is taken, because your employer thinks you have a disability, that may be unlawful discrimination. The same is true if you face discrimination because someone believes you are gay (or not gay), no matter what your sexual orientation.
What questions should an employer NOT ask during a job interview?
It’s an unfair discriminatory practice for an employer to request or require you to furnish information pertaining to any protected class factor, unless there is a state or federal law that requires the employer to obtain this information. Employers can require information about eligibility to work in terms of immigration status, to comply with child labor laws, or to determine whether an applicant can meet licensing requirements. They can’t collect medical or health-related information prior to making a job offer, but they can ask about an applicant's ability to do work that is an essential part of the job, such as lifting or climbing.
"Are you planning to have children?" and "When did you graduate from college?" are obviously prohibited, since they pertain to sex and age, respectively. An employer should avoid any question that is likely to reveal information about a protected class characteristic.