Fact Sheets in English

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To learn more about our agency, illegal discrimination, and your rights, select from the fact sheets below. (The information contained in these Fact Sheets is not intended as legal advice, nor is it a complete answer to your rights under the Minnesota Human Rights Act).

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About Us

We are a State Agency that Investigates Charges of Illegal Discrimination

The mission of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) is to make Minnesota discrimination free.

We enforce the Minnesota Human Rights Act. This is a state law that protects everyone in Minnesota from illegal discrimination.

Fact Sheet: About the Department of Human Rights (PDF 114kb). This document covers:

  • What services we offer
  • How we protect your rights
  • Our neutrality

How to File a Complaint (Intake)

Intake is the first step in filing a complaint with our agency

When you contact us with a complaint, a departemnt staff person will talk to you about your problem. Unfortunately, unfair treatment happens a lot, but we only have authority to look into discrimination that happens because of a "protected class" reason.

Fact Sheet: Intake Process (PDF 256kb). This document covers:

  • Protected classes
  • What the Department of Human Rights needs to know
  • General description of our intake process

Your Rights

Everyone in Minnesota is protected from illegal discrimination under the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA).

Discrimination is when someone treats you differently or does not give you rights you would normally have because of your race, your age, your sex, or some other personal characteristic. You cannot be treated differently because you belong to a certain group or "protected class" of people.

Fact Sheet: Your Rights (PDF 198kb). This document covers:

  • Protected classes
  • Protected areas
  • Protections chart
  • Glossary

Discrimination 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, Local Human Rights Commission Activity.

Fact sheet: Employment Discrimination (PDF 190kb). This document covers:

  • What could be discrimination in employment
  • What an employer can ask you in a job interview
  • Revenge for filing a discrimination charge (reprisal)
  • Undocumented workers

Discrimination in Housing

Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, housing is a "protected area." And it is illegal to treat you differently in a housing situation because of your:

Race, Color, Creed, Religion, National Origin, Sex, Marital Status, Familial Status, Disability, Public Assistance, Sexual Orientation.

Fact Sheet: Discrimination in Housing (PDF 176kb). This document covers:

  • What could be discrimination in housing
  • What you can do

Discrimination in Public Services

Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, public service is a "protected area." And it is illegal to treat you differently in public service because of your:

Race, Color, Creed, Religion, National Origin, Sex, Disability, Public Assistance, Sexual Orientation.

Fact Sheet: Discrimination in Public Services (PDF 142kb). This document covers:

  • What is public service
  • What could be discrimination in public service
  • What you can do

Discrimination in Education

Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, education is a "protected area." And it is illegal to treat you differently in education—public, private, or trade schools, universities and colleges—because of your:

Race, Color, Creed, Religion, National, Origin, Sex, Age (if you are 25 years or older), Marital Status, Disability, Public Assistance, Sexual Orientation.

Fact Sheet: Discrimination in Education (PDF 184kb). This document covers:

  • What could be discrimination in education
  • What you can do

Discrimination Based on Disability

Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, disability is a "protected class." And it is illegal to treat you differently because of your disability in:

Employment, Housing, Public Accommodations, Public Services, Education, Credit, Business.

Fact Sheet: Disability Discrimination. (PDF 179kb). This document covers:

  • What is a disability
  • What is "reasonable accommodation"
  • What could be disability discrimination
  • What you can do

Race, National Origin and Religious Discrimination

Discrimination based on race, national origin—where you or your ancestors are from—and religion is illegal in Minnesota.

Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, race, national origin and religion are "protected classes." And it is illegal to treat you differently because of your race, national origin or religion* in these "protected areas":

Employment, Housing, Public Accommodations, Public Services, Education, Credit, Business *(Religion is not a protected class in business).

Fact Sheet: Race, Religion, and National Origin Discrimination (PDF 241kb). This document covers:

  • How race, religion, and national origin are often related
  • What could be race, national origin or religious discrimination
  • What you can do

Discrimination Based on Sex

Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, sex is a "protected class." And it is illegal to treat you differently because you are a man or a woman in:

Employment, Housing, Public Accommodations, Public Services, Education, Credit, Business.

Fact Sheet: Sex Discrimination (PDF 170kb). This document covers:

  • What is sexual harassment
  • Revenge for filing a discrimination charge (reprisal)
  • What could be sex discrimination
  • What you can do

Protections Chart - Summary of Protections

Not every act that’s unfair or unreasonable is illegal. The Department has authority to investigate discrimination only if it happens because of a protected class reason. There are limited exceptions to some provisions of the Act, and not every class is protected in each area. For example, a restaurant can offer special discounts to senior citizens because age is not a protected class in public accommodations.

protections chart

Other Protections in the Minnesota Human Rights Act

You cannot be punished for:

  • Opposing discrimination
  • Having friends from other protected classes
  • Filing a discrimination charge or complaining about harassment or discrimination
  • Taking part in an investigation by a human rights organization

It is illegal to aid and abet discrimination. This means a person cannot help someone else commit discriminatory acts.

Fact Sheet: Protections Chart (PDF 672kb).

A text description of this chart is available here.

What to do

If you think you are a victim of discrimination:

  • Write down what happened to you if you think it was unfair.
  • Write down the dates when the unfair treatment happened.
  • Write down the names of other people that were there.
  • Write down what the people who were there said.

Do not wait!

Sometimes it is hard to say what is discrimination and what is not discrimination—every situation is different. But if you think you are a victim of discrimination, do not wait. Contact the Minnesota Department of Human Rights immediately. You have one year after the discrimination happened to file a complaint.

Phone: 651-539-1100
Toll free: 1-800-657-3704
TTY: 651-296-1283 (for people with a hearing impairment).
email: Info.MDHR@state.mn.us

If you are emailing the department about filing a charge of discrimination and do not receive a reply within five business days, please contact our intake unit by phone at 651.539.1100 (TTY 651.296.1283) or Toll Free at 1.800.657.3704.

Getting an interpreter

If you need an interpreter to help communicate with our office, we will provide one for you free. Call us and say, "I need a (say your language here) interpreter."