Your Rights in Public Accommodations

Prohibited Practices in Public Accommodations

Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, public accommodations is a protected area, and it is illegal to treat you differently in this area because of your: race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, sexual orientation.

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

businesses, entertainment providers, transportation facilities, etc., whose goods, services and, facilities are extended, offered, sold, or otherwise made available to the public:

Unfairly deny the full and equal enjoyment of the entity's goods, services, and facilities based on a person’s protected characteristics.

Fail to provide a reasonable accommodation to the known physical, sensory, or mental disability of a disabled person.

Violations of state or local building codes are not violations of the MHRA and must be enforced under normal building code procedures.

For an owner, operator, or manager of a hotel, restaurant, public conveyance, or other public place to prohibit a blind or deaf person or a person with a physical or sensory disability from taking a service animal into the public place or conveyance.

Businesses may ask if an animal is a service animal or ask what tasks the animal has been trained to perform. However, businesses may not ask:

  • about the person's disability or require documentation of the disability,
  • that special identification cards for the service animal be produced,
  • that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform work,
  • about the training that the service animal received, or
  • require individuals with a service animal to use a specific entrance.

Misdemeanor

§363A.30 Subd. 4.

In addition to all other remedies provided under this chapter, every person who commits an unfair discriminatory act as set forth in §363A.11, or aids, abets, incites, compels, or coerces another to do so, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Significant Exemptions in Public Accommodations

  1. Respondents that may be exempt under one or more circumstances include the following:
    1. An accommodation that maintains separate restrooms, locker rooms, and similar places, relating to sex.
    2. Employees or volunteers of non public service organizations whose primary function is providing occasional services to minors, such as youth organizations, with respect to qualifications based on sexual orientation.
  2. Restrictions relating to sex do not apply to restricting membership on an athletic team or in a program or event to participants of one sex if the restriction is necessary to preserve the unique character of the team, program, or event and it would not substantially reduce comparable athletic opportunities for the other sex.

See Minn. Stat. 363A.24

More Information

What To Do

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