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Employers cannot discriminate against workers who applied for unemployment insurance

5/10/2020 11:31:30 AM

With COVID-19 forcing thousands of Minnesotans to apply for unemployment insurance, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights reminds employers that they cannot fire, refuse to rehire, or penalize employees because they applied for or received unemployment insurance. 

Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, it is unlawful to discriminate against an employee because they applied for or received public assistance, which includes unemployment insurance benefits. 

COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting communities of color and Indigenous communities, compounding existing disparities in economic opportunities and outcomes. Since mid-March, 26% of workers from communities of color and Indigenous communities in Minnesota have applied for unemployment insurance, compared to 14% of white Minnesotans in the labor force. 

Discriminating against people of color, Indigenous communities, refugees, or immigrants because they applied for unemployment insurance will exacerbate inequities and disparities in our state. We must and can do better in Minnesota. 

Unemployment Insurance

We understand that many employers and workers are navigating the unemployment insurance program for the first time. If you are an employer and want to know more about employers’ obligations under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, we recommend you reach out to your attorney or call our office at 651-539-1100 or 1-800-657-3704. 

If you were fired, not rehired, or treated differently than other applicants or employees because you applied for and/or received unemployment insurance during COVID-19, call the Discrimination Helpline at 1-833-454-0148 or submit this online form

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