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Minnesota Department of Human Rights struggles with discrimination caseload

It is illegal under laws at both the state and federal levels to discriminate against an employee. Those who are discriminated against have the ability to file a claim against their employer for wrongdoing. Currently, the country’s judicial system is struggling to keep up with discrimination cases and is wadding through a massive backlog.

In Minnesota alone hundreds of victims wait months, and even years, to determine if their cases have merit.

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights is struggling to keep up with the discrimination caseload. The staff assigned to these cases is half the size it was in the 1990s, and the caseload continues to grow. Recent estimates call for each investigator to tackle over 75 cases.

Discrimination basics

Discrimination cases filed with the judicial system date back to The Civil Rights Act of the 1960s. This law forbids the use race, national origin, gender or religion as reason to refuse to hire an employee, discipline, fail to promote, harass or fire an employee.

Additional pieces of legislature were passed to expand these protections. This includes:

  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA): protects those who are over the age of forty and applies to employers who employ over twenty employees
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Rehabilitation Act: protects those with disabilities and applies to private employers with fifteen or more employees as well as all government entities and federal contractors

In addition to these federal laws, the Minnesota Human Rights Act makes it illegal for employers to treat employees differently based on the employee’s race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, public assistance, age, sexual orientation or local human rights commission activity.

Discrimination claims

The first step for victims of employment discrimination is to bring the claim to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or state agency to investigate the claim for merit.

A claim filed through the Minnesota Department of Human Rights begins with the intake process. During this time, an employee may file a charge. The next step is the investigation and determination phase, during which a neutral investigator reviews the charge and MDHR issues a determination.

Determining the right step to take with an employment discrimination suit can be difficult, and it is important to keep in mind that there are time barriers. Some cases must be filed within 180 days. As a result, if you or a loved one is the victim of employment discrimination it is important to contact an experienced Minnesota employment discrimination attorney to discuss your situation and potential legal remedies.