Do You Have a Case?

A Guide to Employment Discrimination: Public Assistance Status

Why do you believe the discrimination happened because of your Public Assistance Status?

  1. During a job interview, were you asked questions that required you to reveal that fact that you have received public assistance?
  2. Were you treated differently after your employer (or potential employer) became aware that you had received public assistance?
  3. Do you know someone who is not receiving public assistance who was treated better than you in the same situation?

NO, none of these sounds like my situation.

YES, at least one of these fits my situation.


How does the Human Rights Act protect people who have received (or are receiving) public assistance?

In employment, education, housing, public services and credit, it is illegal to discriminate against an individual because of that person's public assistance status.

In practice, charges of employment discrimination based on public assistance status are uncommon. Charges of discrimination based on public assistance status are brought more often in other areas, especially housing.

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.