Employment Discrimination in Minnesota

Employment discrimination against protected classes is illegal in Minnesota.

April 18, 2018
Federal and state law prohibit Minnesota employers from discriminating against employees based on certain characteristics, such as race or religion. (To learn more, see our page on employment discrimination and harassment.)

What Are the Protected Classes in Minnesota?

In all 50 states, federal law makes it illegal to discriminate based on:

  • race
  • color
  • national origin
  • religion
  • sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions)
  • disability
  • age (40 and older)
  • citizenship status, and
  • genetic information.

In addition, Minnesota state law also prohibits discrimination based on:

  • race
  • color
  • national origin
  • religion
  • sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions)
  • disability: physical, mental, or sensory
  • age (18 to 70)
  • genetic information
  • marital status
  • sexual orientation (includes perceived sexual orientation)
  • gender identity
  • being a member of a local human rights commission
  • receiving public assistance, and
  • familial status (parents or guardians living with a minor child).
Several cities in the U.S. have their own laws protecting additional characteristics or extending protection to more employees. Contact your local government to learn more.

Which Minnesota Employers Are Subject to Antidiscrimination Laws?

Federal antidiscrimination laws apply to Pennsylvania employers with 15 or more employees, with the following exceptions:

  • age discrimination (employers with 20 or more employees)
  • citizenship status discrimination (employers with four or more employees), and
  • equal pay for men and women (all employers).

Minnesota's antidiscrimination law applies to all employers.

What Government Agency Regulates Workplace Discrimination in Minnesota?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that regulates workplace discrimination. You can contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by calling 800-669-4000 or check out its website at www.eeoc.gov. The website will help you locate an EEOC field office in Minnesota. (See our article on filing a discrimination claim with the EEOC.)

The Department of Human Rights enforces state antidiscrimination law in Minnesota. You can contact the Department of Human Rights at 651-296-5663 or 800-657-3704 or go to its website.

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