Kevin Lindsey, Commissioner of Human Rights
Kevin Lindsey was appointed Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights in February 2011. He had previously served as a civil litigation attorney in the Office of the Ramsey County Attorney, and has 20 years of experience in resolving complex legal and public policy questions.
In announcing his appointment, Gov. Mark Dayton called Lindsey ideally suited for the position, citing his deep familiarity and passion for issues concerning human rights, housing, employment and civil litigation in both the private and public sectors. "Kevin is a respected lawyer and advocate with deep experience in the community working on issues of fairness in the workplace and in the community," said Gov. Dayton. "He will be a strong, professional voice in the Dayton Administration."
As Commissioner, Lindsey is responsible for a department whose mission is to make Minnesota discrimination free. The Department of Human Rights enforces the Minnesota Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, religion, color, creed, nationality, age, disability, sexual orientation and other characteristics protected under the Act. Discrimination is prohibited in employment, housing, public accommodations, public services, business, credit and other areas.
The Department of Human Rights also ensures that businesses seeking state contracts are in compliance with equal opportunity requirements, and strives to eliminate discrimination by educating Minnesotans about their rights and responsibilities under the Act.
In his first six months as Commissioner, Lindsey introduced new department strategies to investigate charges of discrimination more quickly, and announced a new policy under which the department will investigate all charges that are filed. In the last four years, the Department has investigated more than 2,400 cases. In comparison, the Department investigated 1,080 cases in the prior four years.
The average length of time to complete an investigation was more than 420 days at the end of 2010; the average length of time to complete an investigation has dropped to 266 days as of July 2015.
Commissioner Lindsey is also committed to calling upon government agencies to collaborate more closely to address racial and economic disparities. Governor Dayton has asked the department to play a prominent role in improving diversity in hiring and diverse contracting opportunities among state agencies. To assist in those efforts. Commissioner Lindsey serves as the Vice Chair of the Governor’s Diversity and Inclusion Council, and chairs the Council’s Civic Engagement Committee. The department is also collaborating with other state agencies and other partners to address racial disparities in employment, income, education, health care, housing, criminal justice, entrepreneurship, public accommodation and public goods, as well as on other issues such as bullying in schools.
Lindsey received his JD and BA from the University of Iowa, where as a law student he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Iowa Law Review. He worked for Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly, where he practiced civil litigation, primarily representing clients in employment, product liability, contract and health law. He also brings private sector experience as Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of Axis, Inc., where he was responsible for managing human resources operations, ensuring legal and administrative compliance, and risk management. Prior to joining Ramsey County Mr. Lindsey worked for Halleland, Lewis, Nilan & Johnson in the employment and health law groups.