Unlawful discrimination is the act of making outlawed distinctions between people based on the groups, classes, or other categories to which they belong or are perceived to belong. Discrimination is illegal in various settings, including: employment, education, places of public accommodation, and by various government actors.
Minnesota Discrimination Attorney
As an experienced civil rights and employment lawyer, I am familiar with the laws prohibiting discrimination and seek to help my clients understand, enforce, and comply with those laws. I advise and advocate for those in Minnesota and beyond who seek fairness and justice, including: discrimination victims, whistleblowers, and employers and entrepreneurs striving to comply with anti-discrimination laws.
What is unlawful discrimination?
Unlawful discrimination is treating a person or a group of people less favorably based on certain protected characteristics or classes. These protected classes can include but are not limited to race/color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age, disability, or genetic information. Unlawful discrimination can occur in various areas such as employment, education, housing, public accommodations and services, and more.
Here's a more detailed look:
1. Employment Discrimination: This involves treating a job applicant or an employee unfavorably because of a characteristic that is protected under federal or state laws.
2. Housing Discrimination: This involves treating individuals unfavorably in renting, selling, or financing housing based on protected characteristics. The Fair Housing Act is the federal law that prohibits this type of discrimination.
3. Education Discrimination: This includes denying a person equal access to education based on certain protected characteristics. The federal laws that prohibit this type of discrimination include Title IX (sex discrimination in education) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
4. Public Services and Accommodations Discrimination: Discrimination in providing public services or public accommodations, such as hotels, restaurants, and theaters, is also prohibited. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are among the laws that protect individuals from this type of discrimination. Additionally, Minnesota law has broad protections against such discrimination in the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA).
5. Health Care Discrimination: This involves treating individuals unfavorably in the provision of health care services based on their protected characteristics.
6. Credit/Lending Discrimination: The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) prohibits creditors from discriminating against credit applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or because an applicant receives income from a public assistance program. The ECOA and the Fair Housing Act prohibit discriminatory practices in lending, such as charging higher interest rates or imposing different loan terms based on a protected characteristic.
As with employment discrimination, the remedies available for other forms of unlawful discrimination can include compensatory damages, punitive damages, and injunctive relief, which is a court order to do or stop doing something.
The enforcement of these laws is carried out by various federal agencies, such as the EEOC for employment discrimination, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for housing discrimination, and the Department of Education for education discrimination. At the state level, there are also agencies responsible for enforcing anti-discrimination laws. For example, in Minnesota, the Department of Human Rights enforces the state's Human Rights Act.
Given the complexity of the laws relating to discrimination, individuals should consult with legal counsel to ensure that they understand their rights and obligations.