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Human Rights Commission

The Human Rights Commission aids and advises the City Council in ensuring all citizens have equal opportunities in employment, housing, public accommodations, public services and education and in other affairs that affect the social well-being of the community.

The commission mediates complaints relating to discrimination and educates and advocates on human rights. 

Meeting information

The Commission meets monthly, the third Monday of the month, from 5:30 – 7 p.m. at Bloomington Civic Plaza.

Discrimination is illegal

How do I know if I've been treated illegally?

How do I know if I've been treated illegally? The law says that you cannot be treated differently in certain areas because of certain personal characteristics. For instance, you can't be treated differently in employment because of your race. The chart below lists areas in which you are protected and the personal characteristics that cannot be used as a reason to treat you differently.

Jurisdiction of the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA)

Protected Classes Employment Housing Public Accommodations Public Service Education Credit Business
Race Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Color Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Creed Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes  
Religion Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes  
National Origin Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sex Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Marital Status Yes Yes Yes   Yes Yes  
Disability Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Public Assistance Yes Yes   Yes Yes Yes  
Age Yes       Yes    
Sexual Orientation Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Family Status   Yes          
Reprisal Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Aiding, Abetting, and Obstruction Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Local Human Rights Commission Activity Yes            

What if I'm not sure?

Call the Bloomington Human Rights Commission. They can advise you on what the law says, and also about mediation for dealing with your problem. It costs nothing.

Protected areas

It's illegal to discriminate an individual in the following protected areas. Click each area for a definition and link to more information.

Aiding, Abetting and Obstruction

Aiding, Abetting and Obstruction: to intentionally aid, abet, incite, compel or coerce a person to engage in any of the practices forbidden by the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA)

Business

It is illegal to treat you differently in business because of your race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation.

Credit

It is illegal to treat you differently in credit because of you race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, public assistance, sexual orientation.

Education

It is illegal to treat you differently in education because of your race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, public assistance, age, sexual orientation.

Employment

It is illegal to treat you differently in employment because of your race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, public assistance, age, sexual orientation, familial status, or local human rights commission activity.

Housing

It is illegal to treat you differently in housing because of your race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, public assistance, sexual orientation, or familial status.

Public accommodations

Public accommodationbusiness, accommodation, refreshment, entertainment, recreation, or transportation facility of any kind, whether licensed or not, whose goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations are extended, offered, sold, or otherwise made available to the public. 

It is illegal to treat you differently in this area because of your race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, sexual orientation.

Public services

Public service: any public facility, department, agency, board or commission, owned, operated or managed by or on behalf of the state of Minnesota, or any subdivision thereof, including any county, city, town, township, or independent district in the state.

It is illegal to treat you differently in this area because of your race, color, creed, religion, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, or public assistance.

Reprisal

Reprisal: retaliation, such as intimidation, harassment, or other adverse treatment, motivated by conduct protected under the Human Rights Act. Protected conduct includes filing a charge, opposing discrimination, participating in an investigation of alleged discrimination, and similar activities; and associating with persons of a different race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation or national origin, or persons who have disabilities. 

Reprisal is prohibited regardless of whether there was any merit to the complaint of discrimination that led to the retaliation. 

Resources:

  • Legal Aid
    430 1st Ave. N., Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55401
    612-332-1441
    Providing professional legal help to Minnesotans who traditionally lack access to the American justice system and cannot afford he services of a private attorney.

Protected classes and resources

Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act §363A, it is illegal to discriminate against an individual based on a protected class. Need help? Click on each area for a definition and resources.

Age

Age: how old you are.  This class is protected only in two areas, employment and education.  If a minor (child under 18 years old) wants to file a discrimination charge, they must have a parent or legal guardian do it for them.

A guide to employment discrimination: Minnesota Department of Human Rights

Resources:

  • Civil Society  
    332 Minnesota St., Ste. E-1436, St. Paul, MN 55101
    651-291-0713
    Providing culturally and linguistically specific services to victims of human trafficking, sexual assault and abuse. 
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (Minneapolis Area Office)
    330 S. 2nd Ave., Suite 720
    Minneapolis, MN 55401
    1-800-669-4044
    Investigate charges of discrimination against employers who are covered by the law.

Creed

Creed: a belief system.  A creed is very important to a person who believes it.  A creed is like a religion, but it does not have to involve a God or Gods.

A guide to employment discrimination: Minnesota Department of Human Rights

Resources:

  • Legal Aid
    430 1st Ave. N., Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55401
    612-332-1441
    Providing professional legal help to Minnesotans who traditionally lack access to the American justice system and cannot afford the services of a private attorney.

Color

Color: skin color

A guide to employment discrimination: Minnesota Department of Human Rights

Resources:

  • Legal Rights Center
    1611 Park Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55404
    612-337-0030
    Specializes in adult and juvenile criminal defense, and restorative justice practices and advocacy. 
  • National Association for Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
    310 E. 38th St. Suite 136, Minneapolis, MN 55409
    612-822-8205
    To ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of all persons to eliminate race-based discrimination.

Public Assistance

Public Assistance: these are government programs that help people with low incomes or special needs.  Some examples of public assistance are:

  1. Medicaid or Medical Assistance
  2. Food Support (food stamps)
  3. Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP)
  4. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  5. Federal Housing Assistance or Section 8 Assistance
  6. Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP)
  7. National School Lunch Program's free lunch program

A guide to employment discrimination: Minnesota Department of Human Rights

Resources:

  • Legal Aid
    430 1st Ave. N., Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55401
    612-332-1441
    Providing professional legal help to Minnesotans who traditionally lack access to the American justice system and cannot afford the services of a private attorney.
  • Legal Rights Center
    1611 Park Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55404
    612-337-0030
    Specializes in adult and juvenile criminal defense, and restorative justice practices and advocacy.  

Disability

Disability: a person has a disability if:

  1. He or she has a physical, sensory (blindness or deafness for example) or mental impairment
  2. This impairment "materially interferes" with - it largely gets in the way of - a major life activity; or
  3. He or she has a record of this kind of impairment; or
  4. He or she is recognized as having this kind of impairment

Not every injury or illness amounts to "disability" under the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

A guide to employment discrimination: Minnesota Department of Human Rights

Resources:

  • Civil Society  
    332 Minnesota St., Ste. E-1436, St. Paul, MN 55101
    651-291-0713
    Providing culturally and linguistically specific services to victims of human trafficking, sexual assault and abuse. 
  • Minnesota Disability Law Center (MDLC)
    430 1st Ave. N., Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55401
    612-332-1441
    Provides free civil legal assistance to individuals with disabilities statewide on legal issues related to their disabilities. 
  • Minnesota State Council on Disability  
    121 7th Pl. E., Suite 107, St. Paul, MN 55101
    651-361-7800
    Advocate for policies and programs in the public and private sectors that advance the rights of Minnesotans with disabilities. 

Familial Status

Familial Status: someone who has children under 18 years old living with them.  Generally, a landlord cannot refuse to rent to parents with children.  This class is only protected in housing. 

A guide to employment discrimination: Minnesota Department of Human Rights

Resources:

Local Human Rights Commission activity

Local Human Rights Commission activity: you cannot be discriminated against because you serve with a local human rights commission.  This class is only protected in employment. 

A guide to employment discrimination: Minnesota Department of Human Rights

Marital Status

Marital Status: whether you are single, married or divorced.

A guide to employment discrimination: Minnesota Department of Human Rights

Resources:

  • Civil Society  
    332 Minnesota St., Ste. E-1436, St. Paul, MN 55101
    651-291-0713
    Providing culturally and linguistically specific services to victims of human trafficking, sexual assault and abuse. 

National Origin

National Origin: what part of the world you come from, or where your ancestors lived.

A guide to employment discrimination: Minnesota Department of Human Rights

Resources:

  • Civil Society  
    332 Minnesota St., Ste. E-1436, St. Paul, MN 55101
    651-291-0713
    Providing culturally and linguistically specific services to victims of human trafficking, sexual assault and abuse. 
  • Immigration Law Center of Minnesota
    651-641-1011
    450 N. Syndicate St., Suite 200
    St. Paul, MN 55104
    Enhances opportunities for immigrants and refugees through legal representation for low-income individuals, and through education and advocacy with diverse communities. 

Race

Race: such as Caucasian, African American, Asian or American Indian.  Some people see themselves as belonging to more than one race.

A guide to employment discrimination: Minnesota Department of Human Rights

Resources:

  • Civil Society  
    332 Minnesota St., Ste. E-1436, St. Paul, MN 55101
    651-291-0713
    Providing culturally and linguistically specific services to victims of human trafficking, sexual assault and abuse. 
  • Legal Rights Center
    1611 Park Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55404
    612-337-0030
    Specializes in adult and juvenile criminal defense, and restorative justice practices and advocacy. 
  • National Association for Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
    310 E. 38th St. Suite 136, Minneapolis, MN 55409
    612-822-8205
    To ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of all persons to eliminate race-based discrimination.

Religion

Religion: a set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.  Religion involves a God or Gods.

A guide to employment discrimination: Minnesota Department of Human Rights

Resources:

  • Isaiah
    612-333-1260
    2356 University Ave. W., Suite 405
    St. Paul, MN 55114
    A vehicle for congregation, clergy, and people of faith to act collectively and powerfully towards racial and economic equity in the state of Minnesota.
  • Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches (GMCC)
    612-721-8687
    1001 E. Lake St., PO Box 7509
    Minneapolis, MN 55407

Sex

Sex (gender): whether a person is male or female.

A guide to employment discrimination: Minnesota Department of Human Rights

Resources:

  • Civil Society  
    332 Minnesota St., Ste. E-1436, St. Paul, MN 55101
    651-291-0713
    Providing culturally and linguistically specific services to victims of human trafficking, sexual assault and abuse. 
  • Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition
    3405 Chicago Ave., Suite 103, Minneapolis, MN 55407
    612-823-1152
    Committed to improving health care access and quality of health care received by trans and gender non-conforming people through education, resources, and advocacy.
  • Center for Sexual Health (University of Minnesota)  
    1300 2nd St. S., Suite 180, Minneapolis, MN 55454
    612-625-1500
    Provides compassionate patient care in sexual health for individuals, couples and families of all backgrounds and ages. 

Sexual Orientation

Sexual Orientation: whether someone is (or are thought to be) gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual or transgender.

A guide to employment discrimination: Minnesota Department of Human Rights

Resources:

  • OutFront Minnesota
    310 E. 38th St., Suite 209, Minneapolis, MN 55409
    612-822-0127
    OutFront Minnesota's mission is to create a state where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people are free to be who they are, love who they love, and live without fear of violence, harassment or discrimination.
  • Gender Education Center
    763-424-5445
    Providing transgender education, assistance, and counseling.

Additional resources:

Staff liaison

If you feel you have been discriminated against in Bloomington, contact the Human Rights Commission staff liaison Lorinda Pearson, Manager of the City’s Human Services Division.

May we speak to your group?

Better understanding comes through improved communications. The Commission members are available to discuss any questions or concerns you may have.

Commissioners

Members must attend at least 75% of scheduled meetings. Terms are for 3 years. Applicants must be Bloomington residents.

Learn more and download an application at http://blm.mn/boards.

Name Position End Date of Term
Najma Dayib Youth Commissioner August 31, 2018
Ladu Gubek Commissioner December 31, 2019
Nicholas Jenkins First Vice Chair December 31, 2018
Dennis Kane December 31, 2018
Jared Leese Chair December 31, 2018
Mohamed Omar Commissioner December 31, 2019
Chelsea Reynolds Commissioner December 31, 2018
Savannah Salato Second Vice Chair August 31, 2018
Stacy Wells Commissioner December 31, 2018