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What is Exempted?

Minnesota Human Rights Act Exemptions

The Minnesota Human Rights Act provides certain exemptions to unfair discriminatory practices in housing, public accommodations, education, employment and other areas as they relate to gender, sexual orientation, disability, familial status and religious association. 

Housing - Significant Exemptions

1. Respondents that may be exempt under one or more circumstances include the following: 

  • Non-profit organization that rents rooms in a residence home, with respect to sex. 
  • Resident owner of a rental unit in the accommodation to another person(s) with respect to sex, marital status, public assistance, sexual orientation, or disability.
  • Resident owner of a rental unit in a dwelling with no more than two units, with respect to sexual orientation. 
  • Resident owner occupied building containing four or fewer dwelling units or housing for elderly persons, with respect to familial status. 

2. Local, state, or federal restrictions regarding the maximum number of people allowed to occupy a dwelling shall not be disregarded in favor familial status discrimination. Local, state, or federal restrictions regarding the maximum number of people allowed to occupy a dwelling shall not be disregarded in favor of familial status discrimination.

Public Accommodations - Significant Exemptions

1. Respondents that may be exempt under one or more circumstances include the following:

  • An accommodation that maintains separate restrooms, locker rooms, and similar places, relating to sex.
  • 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.

Education - Significant Exemptions

Respondents that may be exempt under one or more circumstances include the following:

  • Religious or denominational institutions that limit admission or give preference to applicants of the same religion.
  • Educational institutions in which students of only one sex are permitted to enroll.
  • Institution or public service that maintains or sponsors separate male and female athletic teams.

Employment - Significant Exemptions

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:

  • Employers that are a person’s parent, grandparent, spouse, child, or grandchild.
  • Employers of domestic servants.
  • Religious or fraternal organizations with respect to sexual orientation.
  • Private service organizations with respect to sexual orientation.
  • Administrators of benefits or seniority systems with respect to age.
  • Administrators of physical exams and preemployment tests that meet certain criteria, with respect to disability.

Links to statutes

363A.20 Exemption Based On Employment

363A.21 Exemption Based On Real Property


363A.22 Exemption Based On Familial Status In Housing

363A.23 Exemption Based On Education


363A.24 Exemption Based On Public Accommodations


363A.25 Exemption Based On Disability


363A.26 Exemption Based On Religious Association


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