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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about Affirmative Action Plans & Certificates of Compliance

What is an affirmative action plan?

An affirmative action plan is a set of goal-oriented management polices and procedures to eliminate barriers to employment and increase retention of minorities, women and qualified disabled persons that are not based on specific job requirements.

Who must have a workforce certificate?

Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, Section 363A.36, organizations who have more than 40 full-time employees in the state of their principal place of business on a single working day during the previous 12 months, must have a certificate of compliance issued by the Commissioner of the Department of Human Rights before a state contract or agreement for goods or services that is likely to exceed $100,000 can be executed.

Can the Department provide assistance in developing affirmative action plans?

The Department provides a template for an affirmative action plan that meets State of Minnesota requirements [insert link]. Businesses are not required to use this template. Department staff also are available to provide some technical assistance. Please contact the Department’s Compliance line at (651) 395-1095 or (800) 657-3704 (toll free) or email For additional information, visit  MDHR’s Contract Compliance page.

Does a business that has a letter of approval from  the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department, the St. Paul Human Rights Department, or the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) need a workforce certificate of compliance to do business with the state?

Yes. However, the Department can issue a certificate based on a business' compliance with the requirements set forth by these other  human rights agencies.

How long does it take to obtain a workforce certificate of compliance?

Within 15 days of receipt of a business’ application and affirmative action plan, the Department will either issue a workforce certificate of compliance or a notice of deficiency. A notice of deficiency will identify the specific corrections a business needs to make to complete the application process. Certificates are typically issued within a few days of the Department’s receipt of a business’ corrected affirmative action plan or application.  Payment of the application fee must be received before the Department can issue a certificate. 

How do I pay for a workforce certificate of compliance. Can I pay online?

You can pay online with a credit or debit card, or through your checking or savings account with an electronic check.  You can also mail in a check. Checks mailed in should be made payable to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.  

Do you have a poster?

Yes, we provide a poster to contractors when we send their certificate of compliance.

What if a  contractor does not meet its affirmative action goals?

The determination of a contractor's compliance status is primarily based on the contractor’s compliance with Minn. Stat. §363A.36 and its implementing rules under Minn. R. Chap. 5000, and whether it has been making good faith efforts to implement its affirmative action plan or the equal opportunity clauses contained in its state contracts. Construction contractors are also required to meet certain goals. There are no quotas in state affirmative action plans. If good faith efforts have not been made the Department can suspend or revoke a contractor's workforce certificate of compliance.

What is the Department of Human Rights' legal authority?

Minnesota Statutes §363A.36 and §363A.37 and Minn. R. 5000.3400 to 5000.3600
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