Hiring and Interviewing
Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, it is an illegal, discriminatory employment practice for an employer—before a job applicant is hired—to require or request the person to furnish information that pertains to their protected class.
This pre-employment prohibition includes information sought or obtained by an application form, job interview, physical exam/health history, or a third party such as an employment agency or prior employer.
For exemptions regarding pre-employment inquiries, see Minn. Stat. § 363A.20.
Under the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act, it is illegal for employers to discriminate based on a person's citizenship or immigration status during hiring, firing, recruitment, or referral for a fee.
While an employer may not ask about an applicant’s immigration status, it may ask if the applicant is legally authorized to work in the United States.
The practice of conducting credit history checks is not discriminatory. However, if a credit history requirement does adversely impact a protected class, it is likely discriminatory unless the requirement relates to the job or significantly furthers an important business purpose, and there is no alternative practice that would result in a lesser adverse impact on the protected class.
An employer does not engage in discrimination against an applicant with a disability -- which in the circumstances of the job and even with a reasonable accommodation -- poses a serious threat to the health or safety of the applicant or others.
For example, if an applicant has a disability that renders them unable to see, and performing the job without sight poses a safety threat to the applicant or others, the employer does not commit discrimination in refusing to hire the applicant even though the refusal relates to the applicant’s disability.
An employer may inquire as to whether the applicant can perform the essential functions of the job with or without a reasonable accommodation of a disability.
Discrimination based on familial status in hiring, promotion, retention, and other employment decisions is illegal in Minnesota.
For example, an employer generally may not refuse to hire an applicant because they are pregnant or because they have a spouse or children.
Health Care Records & Physical Examinations
In some instances, an employer may require an applicant to undergo a physical examination and obtain medical history to ensure the applicant is capable of performing the essential functions of the job.
An employer cannot require health care records or an examination unless it has made an offer on the condition that the person meets the physical or mental requirements of the job.
The examination must be required of all people for the same position and measure only essential, job-related abilities.
If any healthcare records or medical information adversely affect any hiring, firing, or promotional decision concerning an applicant or employee, the employer must notify the affected party within ten days of the final decision.
Information on an applicant or employee's medical history or condition must be collected and maintained on separate forms, kept in separate medical files, and be treated as confidential material.
Some exceptions apply. For more information on examinations, medical history, and the MHRA, see MInn Stat. § 363A.20, subd. 8.
Employers may administer non-medical, pre-employment tests to job applicants.
The tests must be required of all applicants for the same position, measure only essential, job-related abilities, and accurately measure aptitude or achievement.
Employers should also monitor testing outcomes to ensure the tests do not adversely impact a protected class.