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Workforce Technical Assistance


MDHR Certificates Technical Assistance

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights provides technical assistance to contractors to assist with securing a workforce certificate, responding to a workforce certificate audit, and addressing issues identified by the Department when a contractor is not in compliance with the Minnesota Human Rights Act or Minnesota Administrative Rules.

Contractors may contact MDHR's Contract Compliance Division by phone at 651–539–1100 or by e–mail at Compliance.MDHR@state.mn.us with questions.

Who Needs a Workforce Certificate

Any contractor that employs 40 or more employees in a state and that seeks to enter into a contract for goods or services with the State of Minnesota, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, the Metropolitan Council, the Minneapolis Metropolitan Airports Commission, or the Metropolitan Mosquito Control Commission (bid award entities) that is over $100,000 or is likely to exceed $100,000 needs to obtain a workforce certificate from the Department.

Contractors who are exclusively providing investments options under Minn. Stat. §356.645 for the State Board of Investment are exempt.

Obtaining a Workforce Certificate

  • A contractor may apply for a workforce certificate by submitting the following information to the Commissioner:
  • A check or money order for the $150 application fee.  Checks should be made payable to the “Minnesota Department of Human Rights”
  • Affirmative Action Plan (If the plan has been previously approved by the federal government or a local municipality in Minnesota, please provide documentation as to when the plan was approved)
  • An application form that is signed by the Board Chair or Chief Executive Officer
Please do not staple your check or money order to your affirmative action plan. Please indicate the name of the contractor in the memo section of your check or money order.

The information can be mailed to the Department at the following address:

MDHR Contract Compliance Division

Minnesota Department of Human Rights

Freeman Building

625 Robert Street North

Saint Paul, MN 55155

Information may also be sent electronically at compliance.MDHR@state.mn.us


More on Workforce Certificates

Typically, the Department sends the business a workforce certificate within 15 days of receipt of the Affirmative Action Plan. In the event that the Department does not send a workforce certificate, the Department will identify the issues that need to be addressed by the business. Once the issues identified in the Department’s letter are remedied by the business, the Department will send the business a workforce certificate.

A workforce certificate is valid for four years from the date the workforce certificate is issued. Contractors should notify the Department of any changes to their address or contact information.

The Commissioner may take action to void any contract between a contractor and the bid award entity when the contract exceeds $100,000 and the contractor does not have a workforce certificate. 

All contractors need to annually submit information to the Department to ensure their certificate remains valid. The annual compliance report is a report that provides an update to the Department on the progress of the business achieving the goals within its affirmative action plan. The annual compliance report is due one year, and subsequent anniversary dates, after the certificate of compliance was initially issued to the business. 

Contractors that are performing work on an active construction project are required to submit a monthly report to the Department on the workforce participation of workers. Monthly reports are due to the Department on the 10th day of each month or on the first subsequent business day.

Failure of a contractor to provide an annual report or a monthly report to the Department on a timely basis may considered by the Department in assessing the contractor’s compliance with the Act and Rules.

Affirmative Action Plan Requirements


Affirmative Action Plan Requirements

An affirmative action plan submitted to the Department must contain the following required ingredients:

  • Policy statement 
  • Assignment of affirmative action/equal employment opportunity responsibilities 
  • Procedures for dissemination of policy and plan 
  • Workforce analysis, including availability and utilization analyses 
  • Goals, objectives and timetables for completion 
  • Identification of deficiencies or problem areas 
  • Measures to facilitate implementation of policy and plan 
  • Internal audit and reporting systems Disabled individuals plan
  • Plan for recruiting, retaining and promoting individuals with disabilities

Determining Compliance


Desk Audit 

In determining a contractor’s compliance during an audit, the Department may analyze:

  • Compliance with anti-discrimination laws, Minnesota law, Minnesota Rules 5000.3400 to 5000.3600, and contractual equal employment opportunity terms
  • Whether the efforts of the contractor to implement its affirmative action plan was sincere
  • Achievement of goals within its affirmative action plan or workforce participation goals set by the Commissioner
  • Efforts of the contractor to promptly address identified deficiencies
  • Whether contractor submitted timely compliance information to the DepartmentWhether a contractor permits on-site compliance review and readily makes records and document available for review

Contractors should expect that they will be audited by the Department at least once during the four year period in which they hold their workforce certificate.  

After an audit, the Department may identify issues for a contractor to address.  The contractor should address all issues within the time frame identified by the Department within the letter provided to the contractor.  In certain instances, the Department will request that the contractor sign a Consent Agreement.  A contractor should address all issues within the time frame identified by the Department within the Consent Agreement between the contractor and the Department.

The Commissioner may initiate action to suspend or revoke a workforce certificate of a contractor for failure to timely address identified issues within a Consent Agreement.  

The Commissioner is not obligated to negotiate a Consent Agreement and where there is substantial non-compliance by the Contractor the Commissioner may immediately initiate action to suspend or revoke a workforce certificate of a contractor. 

The Commissioner may take action to void any contract between a contractor and the bid award entity when the contract is for $100,000 or more and the contractor does not have a workforce certificate. 

A contractor may request and obtain a hearing regarding any action taken by the Commissioner or bid award entity to suspend their workforce certificate, revoke their workforce certificate, refusal to approve subsequent affirmative action plans, abridge their contract with a bid award entity or void their contract with a bid award entity.

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