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.
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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.
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 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) is the federal agency responsible for enforcing federal employment anti-discrimination laws. The EEOC's website provides answers to questions about the COVID-19 vaccine for employers, employees, and job applicants.
Vaccines and People with Disabilities
Get answers to your questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and people with disabilities from the EEOC.
Some questions that are answered include:
- May an employer require all employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated against COVID-19?
- What are some examples of reasonable accommodations or modifications that employers may have to provide to employees who do not get vaccinated due to disability?
- If an employer requires COVID-19 vaccinations for employees physically entering the workplace, how should an employee who does not get a COVID-19 vaccination because of a disability inform the employer, and what should the employer do?
Religious Objections to Vaccine Mandates
Get answers to your questions about religious objections to COVID-19 vaccine mandates from the EEOC.
Some questions that are answered include:
- Do employees who have a religious objection to receiving a COVID-19 vaccination need to tell their employer?
- Does an employer have to accept an employee’s assertion of a religious objection to a COVID-19 vaccination at face value?
- If an employer grants a religious accommodation to an employee, can the employer later reconsider it?
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, Hmoob, Español, and Soomaali
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 housing discrimination, contact the Discrimination Helpline at 1-833-454-0148 or submit this online form.
COVID-19 does not discriminate based on race, where you come from, your immigration status, or anything else.
If you experienced or witnessed discrimination, 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.
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