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Minnesota Amends its Antidiscrimination Statute (MHRA)

04 Jul

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Update Applicable to:Effective date
All employers regardless of sizeAugust 1, 2025


What happened?

On May 15, 2024, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed Minnesota’s Human Rights Act (MHRA) amendment, also known as Minnesota’s anti-discrimination statute, which affects many different areas for businesses, ranging from employment practices to customer service and accommodation.


What are the details?

The definitions of the protected classes covered by the MHRA were expanded, as were the remedies and enforcement capabilities of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR), the state agency responsible for enforcing the statute.


Key Bites

  • Definition and breadth of protected classes expanded click here
    • Definitions: the definitions of disability, familial status, and discriminate are expanded and clarified, which means more people and situations are covered.
    • Breadth: amendments specifically prohibit an employer from discriminating against an individual because of one or more of the identified protected classes. One or more is added.
  • Changes to procedure click here
    • The MDHR commissioner must determine probable cause or no probable cause within one year of the filing of a case unless the timing has been tolled. It must offer both charging parties the opportunity to resolve a charge of discrimination through mediation or another alternative dispute resolution process (ADR).
    • The 12-month period during which the MDHR must decide is suspended during the period in which the parties are engaged in an ADR process.
  • Increased Damages/Remedies Available to Aggrieved Persons
    • The damages and penalties available have significantly increased effective for any civil action filed on or after Aug. 1, 2024. For the remedies available.
  • Public Accommodations and Use of Service Animals Expanded click here
    • The law now states that it is discriminatory to deny access to service animals in public places for individuals with disabilities, given the animal is properly controlled. It also forbids charging these individuals for their service animals.

For a good breakdown of the bill click here.


Business Considerations

  • Employers should review their current policies and practices to ensure they align with the expanded definitions of protected classes under the MHRA amendments, including service animals.
  • Employers should provide training to managers, supervisors, and HR personnel on the expanded definitions and implications of the amendments to prevent potential discriminatory practices.
  • Employers should be prepared to participate in mediation or other alternative dispute resolution processes offered by the MDHR in the event of a discrimination charge.


Source References


Resources

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This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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