Your Rights in Employment

Prohibited Practices in Employment

Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, employment is a protected area, and it is illegal to treat you differently in employment because of your: race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, public assistance, age, sexual orientation, familial status, or local human rights commission activity.

With limited exceptions, the following actions constitute a violation the Human Rights Act in employment when, because of your protected class status:

Labor organizations unfairly deny membership, fail to represent members, expel a member, or establish unfair terms, fail to refer for jobs, or otherwise treat members differently;

Employers unfairly refuse to hire, discharge, or establish unfair terms, conditions or privileges of employment;

Employment agencies unfairly refuse to refer a person for employment, reject job applications, or comply with discriminatory requests by employers;

Labor organizations, employers, employment agencies require or request that a job applicant furnish information that pertains to protected characteristics or undergo a physical examination.

Exemption: The requirement of request is (a) for national origin information for the purpose of national security; (b) for birth, gender or race information in conducting peace officer background checks; (c) or is in compliance with the Public Contracts Act, or any rule, regulation or laws of the state or the United States.

Seek or obtain any information about a job applicant's protected characteristics for the purpose of making an employment decision.

Exemption: The request is in compliance with the Public Contracts Act, or any rule, regulation or laws of the state or the United States.

Advertise a job vacancy, job opening or union membership with preferences, quotas, limitations or specifications regarding a protected characteristic.

Fail to treat a woman affected by pregnancy or childbirth, or disabilities related to pregnancy or childbirth, the same as other persons who are not so affected, but who are similar in their ability or inability to work, including making reasonable accommodations.

Require or request that a job applicant furnish information that pertains to protected characteristics or undergo a physical examination.

"BFOQ" exemption does not apply. ("BFOQ" = An employment practice is not considered unfair if it is based on a bona fide occupational qualification).

Employers with 15 or more employees working 20 or more weeks per year must make reasonable accommodations to the known disability of a qualified disabled person unless it can be demonstrated that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship to the covered entity.

Significant Exemptions in Employment

  1. An employment practice is not considered unfair if it is based on a bona fide occupational qualification (“BFOQ”).
  2. Respondents that may be exempt under one or more circumstances include the following:
    1. Employers that are a person’s parent, grandparent, spouse, child, or grandchild.
    2. Employers of domestic servants.
    3. Religious or fraternal organizations with respect to sexual orientation.
    4. Private service organizations with respect to sexual orientation.
    5. Administrators of benefits or seniority systems with respect to age.
    6. Administrators of physical exams and preemployment tests that meet certain criteria, with respect to disability.

More Information

Fact Sheet (PDF)

What to Do

Contact us immediately... do not wait! You have one year from the time the discrimination happened to file a charge with our agency.