Do You Have a Case?

A Guide to Employment Discrimination: Sexual Orientation

Why do you believe the discrimination happened because of your Sexual Orientation?

  1. Do you know someone of a different sexual orientation who was treated better than you in the same situation? (For example, if you were disciplined for a certain behavior, were others of a different sexual orientation not disciplined, even though they engaged in the same behavior?)
  2. Were derogatory comments made about your sexual orientation when the discrimination took place?
  3. Has your employer treated other coworkers of your sexual orientation "badly," while treating those not of your sexual orientation better in comparable situations? Can you cite specific examples?

NO, none of these sounds like my situation.

YES, at least one of these fits my situation.


Does the Human Rights Act protect people who are transgender?

Yes. The definition of sexual orientation in the Minnesota Human Rights Act includes "having or being perceived as having a self-image or identity not traditionally associated with one's biological maleness or femaleness."

It is illegal to discriminate against an individual because they are (or are perceived as) gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual or transgender.

Why are these questions (about the reason for the discrimination) important?

The state Human Rights Act doesn't protect against unfair treatment that happened to a member of a protected class (such as a person of a certain race or sex) — unless that treatment happened because the person was a member of that protected class.

One way to help prove that the treatment happened because you are a member of a protected class is to show that other people who were of a different class (such as a different race or sex) weren't subjected to the same treatment.

But I know what happened and why... can't you take my word for it?

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights is a neutral investigative agency. It's our job to impartially investigate charges of discrimination, and determine whether there is "probable cause" to believe that the events a charging party alleges happened — and that they happened because of the charging party's protected class status.

Like any investigative agency, we look for evidence. The more specific information you can give us — including the names of witnesses — the better we can investigate your charge.