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Policy on Affirmative Action Implementation



This policy provides clear and equitable procedures for DHS to follow in executing its affirmative action responsibilities and increasing the diversity of its workforce.

Reason for Policy

Minnesota Department of Human Services must meet affirmative action responsibilities to comply with state statutes and must increase the diversity of its workforce in order to reflect and effectively serve its client base.

Failure to Comply

Failure to follow this policy may lead to agency sanctions, will likely delay the filling of vacant staff positions, and will be addressed in the performance evaluations of hiring supervisors.


I. Minnesota Department of Human Services is committed to reaching and maintaining its affirmative action goals through hiring policies that encourage consideration of qualified applicants from protected groups (individuals with disabilities, individuals from racial and ethnic minorities, and women in certain professions) when they are under-represented in the DHS workforce. II. No hiring decision or offer may be made unless or until the justification is approved by either the OEPD Equal Opportunity and Access Division, or, as applicable, a deputy commissioner.

Procedures that Apply

I. Hiring supervisor:

  • Contact and consult with the DHS Diversity Recruiter in Human Resources at the earliest possible step in the hiring process to discuss the potential need for targeted recruitment. 
  • For unclassified positions, include a Self-Identification Form -- which requests demographic information about each applicant -- with any information sent to potential applicants about the vacancy if the applicants have not applied through Resumix or a state job application. 
  • Develop an interview that will comply with applicable data practices and equal employment opportunity laws, including: 
  • Using, when practicable, an interview panel comprised of at least one underrepresented member 
  • Structured interviews: Employment interviews in which all applicants are asked the same job-related questions in the same manner. Follow-up questions to expand on applicant responses are permissible and may vary among applicants, as needed. All questions should focus on essential functions and key responsibilities of the job and the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities an applicant will need to perform the job.
  • When there is an unmet affirmative action goal and the applicant pool includes qualified candidates from an underrepresented protected group, at least the top three candidates from that underrepresented protected group should be granted an interview. 
  • Exceptions to this interview requirement may only be made under the following circumstances:
  • the position will be filled from a layoff list as required by collective bargaining agreements;
  • the seniority article in the collective bargaining agreement applies;
  • the position is to be filled under the terms of a grievance or arbitration settlement;
  • the position is a temporary appointment for no more than six (6) months; or
  • with the concurrence of the OEPD Equal Opportunity and Access Division 
  • Following the completion of interviews with all candidates, if a candidate from the protected group for which there is an under representation is not selected, the supervisor must submit a Justification Form to the OEPD Equal Opportunity and Access Division , explaining the reason for the decision to offer the position to someone who is not a protected group candidate. 
  • Withhold from making an offer of employment until either an approval is received from OEPD Equal Opportunity and Access division, or a final determination is made by the deputy commissioner. 
  • Document the interview process and all reasons for non-selection of available candidate(s) from the under-represented protected group. 
  • Provide documentation on the interview and selection process as requested for compliance and other evaluation audits. 

II. Human Resources Division:

  • When a vacancy occurs, HR will send a confirmation email and a detailed Vacancy Filling Guide/Checklist to the hiring supervisor for vacancies they are attempting to fill. Please refer to this guide throughout the vacancy filling process. 
  • All bargaining agreements require an internal posting and bidding process for non-temporary, classified vacancies. The information provided on the Vacancy Posting Profile Form will be considered in the development of the vacancy posting. 
  • The following are guidelines for minimum external posting time requirements; keep in mind that postings may be extended in order to recruit a more diverse pool of applicants: 
    • AFSCME positions: 7 calendar days 
    • MAPE positions: 7 calendar days 
    • MNA positions: 7 calendar days 
    • MMA positions: 14 calendar days v. Managerial plan: 14 calendar days 
  • Human Resources will request and/or assist with targeted recruitment, when needed, in an effort to ensure the eligible list sent to the supervisor includes candidates from the underrepresented protected group(s). 
  • If a hiring supervisor believes there is a legitimate business reason to request a shortened external posting timeline, the hiring supervisor must document those reasons and must work with their HR representative to attain approval for the shortened external posting period. No permissions is needed to extend the posting period. 
  • If there are no bidders and there is an under-utilization of protected group members in a particular job category, HR generalists will send the hiring supervisor a list of candidates in which underrepresented protected group candidates are identified. 
  • Provide consultation services to hiring supervisors regarding the hiring process. 
  • HR generalists will provide the hiring supervisor the Justification Form to complete and submit to the OEPD Equal Opportunity and Access Division when the preferred candidate is not from an underrepresented protected group. 

III. OEPD Equal Opportunity and Access Division

  • Evaluate written justifications for non-selection of available qualified underrepresented protected group candidates. 
  • Approve or disapprove selection decisions where qualified underrepresented protected group members are not selected to fill vacancies. 
  • Provide consultation services, as requested, to hiring supervisors about the interview process related to state and federal equal opportunity and affirmative action laws. 
  • Develop and provide training for hiring supervisors about Affirmative Action requirements, policy and procedures. 

IV. Deputy Commissioner:

  • Review and make final determinations on selection decisions in which OEPD Equal Opportunity and Access Division has determined that hiring supervisors cannot justify the non-selection of a qualified applicant from an underrepresented protected group, or in which the hiring supervisor has indicated they are requesting approval to take a missed opportunity.

Forms that Apply

  • Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Plan 
  • Justification for Not Hiring Qualified Disparate Group Applicant 
  • Self-Identification Form

Related policies and references



Legal Authority: Standards

A reference to all related standards.


Applicant pool: All candidates who are eligible for an interview for the vacancy in question 

Missed opportunity: when a position is filled without hiring through a competitive process or when there is a failure to justify the non-selection of a qualified underrepresented candidate. Under Minnesota statute, sanctions and penalties may be imposed on departments whose missed opportunities exceed 25 percent of all hiring opportunities. 

Protected groups: Persons who are African American, Asian or Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaskan native, persons of Latino descent, persons with a disability and women. 

Qualified person: Candidate capable of performing the essential job functions of the position in question. 

Targeted recruitment: Affirmative outreach and applicant identification efforts to attract applications from qualified underrepresented protected group members; includes a specific plan of action, responsible parties and time frame. 

Underrepresented: when the FTE representation of one or more protected groups is less than that group’s estimated availability in the relevant geographic area and labor force. 

Vacancy: An approved, unclassified or classified position that is open and will be filled. 

Written justification: Correspondence by memo or e-mail specifying the reasons why the non-underrepresented group candidate was substantially more qualified than the underrepresented protected group candidates to perform the basic functions of the job. This justification must include an analysis of the underrepresented protected group candidate(s) qualifications in relation to requisite qualifications for successful job performance. 

Policy Contacts

Policy History

  • Issue Date: 05/06/2014 
  • Effective Date: 01/01/2002 

Version 3.0: 

  • 04/01/2014 (Revised) 

Version 2.0: 

  • 01/01/2004 (Reaffirmed) 
  • 07/01/2003 (Revised) 

Version 1.0 

  • 01/01/2003 (reaffirmed) 
  • 01/01/2002 (Initial Release) 

This policy and its procedures remain in effect until rescinded or updated.

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