COVID-19 and Civil Rights
As the state's civil rights enforcement agency, we want to make sure Minnesotans know about their civil rights related to COVID-19.
Below you'll find information about:
- Reporting Discrimination and Bias
- Reasonable Accommodations
- Worker Protections
- Housing Protections
- Other Resources
If you have questions or need further information, don't hesitate to send us an email or call us at 651.539.1100 or 1.800.657.3704.
COVID-19 does not discriminate based on race, where you come from, your immigration status, or anything else. Call the Discrimination Helpline if you witnessed or experienced discrimination.
How to Report
Call the Discrimination Helpline at 1-833-454-0148 or submit this online form. The helpline is staffed Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Translation/interpretation services are available.
Spread the Word
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Reasonable Accommodations at Work
If an employee has a disability that affects their risk for contracting COVID-19 or being harmed if they do contract the virus (such as diabetes, a compromised immune system, or pregnancy), they have the right to request a reasonable accommodation from their employer.
A reasonable accommodation could include shifting working hours, moving workstations, or working from home.
When requesting a reasonable accommodation, an employee should describe the nature of the accommodation requested and how it will assist them in performing the essential functions of their job.
If you need assistance or have been denied a reasonable accommodation by your employer, contact the Discrimination Helpline at 1-833-454-0148 or submit this online form.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published a Q&A for employers and employees
about how a COVID-19 vaccination interacts with legal requirements under federal anti-discrimination laws.
To find the information on vaccinations, go to section “K” in the publication.
Unemployment Insurance Protections
Employers cannot fire, refuse to rehire, or penalize employees because they applied for or received unemployment insurance. Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, it is illegal to discriminate against an employee because they have applied for or received public assistance.
If you were fired, not rehired, or treated differently than other applicants or employees because you applied for and/or received unemployment insurance, call the Discrimination Helpline at 1-833-454-0148 or submit this online form.
Worker Protections Factsheets
Worker Protection Fact Sheets: English, Hmong, Somali, and Spanish
If you have any concerns about an unsafe workplace (whether related to COVID-19 or not), please contact Minnesota OSHA at 651-284-5050 or email OSHA.Compliance@state.mn.us.
Your landlord cannot discriminate against you, kick you out, or ask you to leave your apartment because of fears and stigma around COVID-19, including discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived race, national origin, disability, or other protected classes.
If you are sick and need an accommodation for your living conditions, you may also be able to request a reasonable accommodation from your landlord, under laws that prohibit disability discrimination. A reasonable accommodation may be a request to making existing facilities accessible.
If you experienced discrimination or need assistance, contact the Discrimination Helpline at 1-833-454-0148 or submit this online form.