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Minnesota Civil Rights Laws

What are Civil Rights?

"Civil rights" are the rights of all individuals to receive equal treatment under state and federal laws. Many of the laws protecting civil rights -- particularly the Civil Rights Act of 1964 -- prohibit discrimination in housing (including landlord-tenant relationships), access to credit, education, public accommodations, and employment. Federal civil rights laws apply to all states, but some state civil rights laws provide additional protections for workers and other individuals.

Overview of Civil Rights Laws in Minnesota

In Minnesota, employment rights and other civil rights provisions are encoded in the Minnesota Human Rights Act and enforced by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR). Under the Act, employers may not discriminate against employees or prospective employees (those applying or interviewing for a job) on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex (gender), marital status, disability, public assistance, age, sexual orientation, familial status, or local human rights commission activity. Sexual orientation is not a protected status under federal law.

The chart below provides a concise snapshot of Minnesota's civil rights laws. See FindLaw's Employment Discrimination section for more articles and resources.

Code Section 363A.01, et seq.
Agency Dept. of Human Rights
Administrative Preemption No
Private Action       Permitted? Yes
Attorney Fees Recoverable by Plaintiff?   Yes
Statute of Limitations 1 yr.
Discrimination prohibited on the basis of:


Race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, public assistance status, age, sexual orientation, familial status, local human rights commission activity.

Note: State laws are in a constant state of flux, subject to change through legislation, ballot initiative, or court decision -- contact a Minnesota civil rights attorney or employment lawyer, or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

How Do I File a Civil Rights Claim in Minnesota?

If you believe your civil rights have been violated, in the workplace or elsewhere, keep in mind that you have one year from the date of the incident in which to file a formal complaint with the state. You may contact the MDHR at (651) 539-1100 to start the process or get more information. Additionally, you may submit an online discrimination complaint form. See FAQ about the MDHR and Filing a Complaint for more information.

Research the Law

Minnesota Civil Rights Laws: Related Resources

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