Charge Writing Guide for Attorneys

What to Include in a Charge of Discrimination

This section provides an overview of the steps to drafting a charge. You will also find information on minors and multiple bases and areas.

Please remember that the Minnesota Department of Human Rights is an investigative agency, not a court. Charges need to clearly identify only the basic jurisdictional facts and the applicable statutory provisions. Additional factual details can be provided in the completed intake questionnaire. In accordance with Minn. Stat. § 363A.28, the department serves all charges on the named respondent within ten days of their filing.

Steps in Preparing a Charge of Discrimination

  1. Prepare charges on the department's form. (Required by Minn. Stat.§ 363A.28.)
  2. Draft charges to identify only the basic jurisdictional facts and the applicable statutory citations. Charges are limited in length to the space available on the front and back of the charge form. Attachments to the charge will not be considered part of the charge and will not be served.
  3. The charge form must be signed by the attorney who drafted the charge and must include his or her attorney license number.
  4. The charging party's notarized signature is required on the charge form. A charge cannot be filed without this notarized signature. (Required by Minn. Stat. § 363A.28.)
  5. Minors on whose behalf charges are filed are not to be identified by name in the charge.
  6. Submit the following documents with the charge:
    • Completed intake questionnaire
    • Government Data Practices Notice signed by the charging party
    • Consent to Release Information form signed by the charging party

Charging parties should be given a copy of the department's document, Guidelines for Charging Parties (included in the Attorney Packet).

Send to:

Enforcement
Minnesota Department of Human Rights
Freeman Building
625 Robert Street North
Saint Paul, MN 55155

Charges may also be faxed to 651-296-9042.

Details to Include in a Charge

Paragraph 1 - Identification Paragraph should include:

  • Protected class status of the charging party (specify group within class; state DOB if age basis)
  • Dates of employment/tenancy or of application; if reprisal, include date, area, basis, and case number of prior charge
  • Position title (most recent) of charging party or of job at issue
  • Address of work site, residence or facility where alleged discrimination occurred
  • Tolling period identification if applicable.

Paragraph 2 - Description of Act should include:

  • Date(s) of act(s) of alleged discrimination
  • Description of act (include reasons given by respondent for action)
  • Name, title, and protected class status (if relevant) of person committing act

In case of ongoing harassment and differential treatment, itemize the most recent or serious acts (i.e., I have been subjected to ongoing harassment including, but not necessarily limited to, the following...)

Paragraph 3 - Reason Why Act Appears Discriminatory

This paragraph should include specific reasons why the charging party believes the comments or actions are discriminatory. This could include:

  • Examples of how similarly situated employees who are not of charging party's protected class status are treated, compared to charging party.
  • Lack of prior warnings or criticism
  • Respondent's knowledge of charging party's protected class status
  • Past discriminatory practices/policies of respondent
  • Direct evidence such as comments or statements demonstrating a bias.

If there is nothing to list in Paragraph 3, the complaint should be re-examined to determine if additional information is needed and/or if the potential charging party (PCP) has sufficient basis to file a charge.

Paragraph 4 - Citation

Identify the area, basis and statutory cite

  • Employment, Real Property, Public Accommodations, Public Services, Education, Credit and Business charges:

I therefore allege that the above-named Respondent has discriminated against me in the area of ______________ on the basis of ______________ in violation of Minnesota Statutes, Section 363A.03. ______.

  • Aiding, Abetting and Reprisal charges:

I therefore allege that the above-named Respondent has discriminated against me in the area of _______________ in violation of Minnesota Statutes, Section 363A.14 ______.

Charges with Multiple Bases & Areas

Multiple bases (protected class factors) are included in a single charge. If the potential charging party (PCP) has standing to claim discrimination in more than one area, separate charges are generally filed only when there are "primary" areas (areas other than aiding and abetting and reprisal). For example, if the PCP was employed as a resident manager and tenancy was a condition of employment, the PCP would have standing to file under employment and housing if both of those areas were affected by the respondent's actions. Separate charges would then be filed for housing and employment.

Aiding and abetting and reprisal claims are usually combined with another "primary" area such as employment.

Charges Involving Persons Below the Age of Majority (18)

Minors on whose behalf charges are filed, and any individual referred to in the text of the charge who is known or appears to be a minor, are not to be identified by name in the charge.

For education charges, this restriction will apply to anyone in grades K-12 regardless of whether the individual is a minor. Minors will be identified, as needed, in the respondent initial information request and elsewhere throughout the investigation process whenever this information is necessary to the charge investigation.