Your Rights in Public Services: FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions About Discrimination in Public Services

What are examples of public services?

Any service provided by a unit of state or local government. Services provided by the federal government are not under the jurisdiction of the Human Rights Act.

I am a disabled person who wishes to attend functions held at the city hall, but no access has been provided for people in wheelchairs. What can be done about this?

Unless a public service can demonstrate that ensuring such access would impose an undue hardship on its operation, access for disabled persons must be provided.

Can your department investigate my complaint against the police?

The Department of Human Rights does investigate complaints against police departments, but only those related to treatment based on the personal characteristics protected by the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

I've been subjected to unjust decisions made by a judge in my court case and I believe a personal characteristic protected by the law was involved. Will you investigate my complaint?

No. The department has no jurisdiction over decisions made in courts.

The welfare department reduced my monthly grant and I don’t think it was fair. Can I file a complaint with your department?

That depends on whether you believe that one of the personal characteristics protected by law was a factor in the treatment you received. If you believe it was, you may have grounds to file a complaint. You may also want to contact the welfare department about their appeals procedures.

If I'm seeking a driver's license or another service provided by the state or local government, is it a violation of the Human Rights Act for them to inquire about my immigration status?

To inquire about one's immigration status is likely to elicit information about national origin, a protected class under the Human Rights Act. If such questions are asked only of those who appear to be of a certain national origin and not of others, such a practice would also violate the Act. A public service may ask questions designed to determine if the individual seeking public service is eligible for that service, however.

More Information

Fact Sheet (PDF)

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.