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Your Rights in Employment

Employment Discrimination

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

Labor organizations, employers, and employment agencies may not because of a protected class reason:

  • Refuse to interview or hire someone
  • Deny opportunities for training or promotion
  • Create or allow a hostile working environment to exist
  • Refuse to reasonably accommodate an individual with a disability
  • Terminate the employment of an individual
  • Seek or gather information about a job applicant’s protected class status for the purpose of making an employment decision. 

Exemptions: 

  • 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
  • The request complies with the Public Contracts Act, or any rule, regulation or laws of the state or the United States
 

"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

  • An employment practice is not considered unfair if it is based on a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (“BFOQ”), which is a characteristic or requirement absolutely necessary for all people to be able to do a particular job
  • 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 service providers
    • 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 pre-employment tests that meet certain criteria, with respect to disability
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