1st Engrossment - 82nd Legislature (2001 - 2002) Posted on 12/15/2009 12:00am
1.1 A bill for an act 1.2 relating to human rights; changing provisions 1.3 pertaining to business discrimination and inquiry into 1.4 a charge; permitting discretionary disclosure during 1.5 investigation; amending Minnesota Statutes 2000, 1.6 sections 363.01, subdivision 41; 363.03, subdivision 1.7 8a; 363.06, subdivision 4; 363.061, subdivision 2. 1.8 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 1.9 Section 1. Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 363.01, 1.10 subdivision 41, is amended to read: 1.11 Subd. 41. [SEXUAL HARASSMENT.] "Sexual harassment" 1.12 includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, 1.13 sexually motivated physical contact or other verbal or physical 1.14 conduct or communication of a sexual nature when: 1.15 (1) submission to that conduct or communication is made a 1.16 term or condition, either explicitly or implicitly, of obtaining 1.17 employment, public accommodations or public services, education, 1.18 or housing; 1.19 (2) submission to or rejection of that conduct or 1.20 communication by an individual is used as a factor in decisions 1.21 affecting that individual's employment, public accommodations or 1.22 public services, education, or housing; or 1.23 (3) that conduct or communication has the purpose or effect 1.24 of substantially interfering with an individual's employment, 1.25 public accommodations or public services, education, or housing, 1.26 or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment, 2.1 public accommodations, public services, educational, or housing 2.2 environment
; and in the case of employment, the employer knows2.3 or should know of the existence of the harassment and fails to2.4 take timely and appropriate action. 2.5 Sec. 2. Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 363.03, 2.6 subdivision 8a, is amended to read: 2.7 Subd. 8a. [BUSINESS DISCRIMINATION.] It is an unfair 2.8 discriminatory practice for a person engaged in a trade or 2.9 business or in the provision of a service: 2.10 (a) to refuse to do business with or provide a service to a 2.11 woman based on her use of her current or former surname; or 2.12 (b) to impose, as a condition of doing business with or 2.13 providing a service to a woman, that a woman use her current 2.14 surname rather than a former surname; or 2.15 (c) intentionallyto intentionally refuse to do business 2.16 with, to refuse to contract with, or to discriminate in the 2.17 basic terms, conditions, or performance of the contract because 2.18 of a person's race, national origin, color, sex, sexual 2.19 orientation, or disability, unless the alleged refusal or 2.20 discrimination is because of a legitimate business purpose. 2.21 Nothing in this subdivision shall prohibit positive action 2.22 plans. 2.23 Sec. 3. Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 363.06, 2.24 subdivision 4, is amended to read: 2.25 Subd. 4. [INQUIRY INTO CHARGE.] (1) Consistent with clause 2.26 (7), the commissioner shall promptly inquire into the truth of 2.27 the allegations of the charge. The commissioner shall make an 2.28 immediate inquiry when a charge alleges actual or threatened 2.29 physical violence. The commissioner shall also make an 2.30 immediate inquiry when it appears that a charge is frivolous or 2.31 without merit and shall dismiss those charges. 2.32 The commissioner shall give priority to investigating and 2.33 processing those charges, in the order below, which the 2.34 commissioner determines have the following characteristics: 2.35 (a) there is evidence of irreparable harm if immediate 2.36 action is not taken; 3.1 (b) there is evidence that the respondent has intentionally 3.2 engaged in a reprisal; 3.3 (c) a significant number of recent charges have been filed 3.4 against the respondent; 3.5 (d) the respondent is a government entity; 3.6 (e) there is potential for broadly promoting the policies 3.7 of this chapter; or 3.8 (f) the charge is supported by substantial and credible 3.9 documentation, witnesses, or other evidence. 3.10 The commissioner shall inform charging parties of these 3.11 priorities and shall tell each party if their charge is a 3.12 priority case or not. 3.13 On other charges the commissioner shall make a 3.14 determination within 12 months after the charge was filed as to 3.15 whether or not there is probable cause to credit the allegation 3.16 of unfair discriminatory practices, and 3.17 (2) If the commissioner determines after investigation that 3.18 no probable cause exists to credit the allegations of the unfair 3.19 discriminatory practice, the commissioner shall, within ten days 3.20 of the determination, serve upon the charging party and 3.21 respondent written notice of the determination. Within ten days 3.22 after receipt of notice, the charging party may request in 3.23 writing, on forms prepared by the department, that the 3.24 commissioner reconsider the determination. The request shall 3.25 contain a brief statement of the reasons for and new evidence in 3.26 support of the request for reconsideration. At the time of 3.27 submission of the request to the commissioner, the charging 3.28 party shall deliver or mail to the respondent a copy of the 3.29 request for reconsideration. The commissioner shall either3.30 reaffirm or, reverse, or vacate and remand for further 3.31 consideration the determination of no probable cause within 20 3.32 days after receipt of the request for reconsideration, and shall 3.33 within ten days notify in writing the charging party and 3.34 respondent of the decision to reaffirm or, reverse, or vacate 3.35 and remand for further consideration. 3.36 A decision by the commissioner that no probable cause 4.1 exists to credit the allegations of an unfair discriminatory 4.2 practice shall not be appealed to the court of appeals pursuant 4.3 to section 363.072 or sections 14.63 to 14.68. 4.4 (3) If the commissioner determines after investigation that 4.5 probable cause exists to credit the allegations of unfair 4.6 discriminatory practices, the commissioner shall serve on the 4.7 respondent and the respondent's attorney if the respondent is 4.8 represented by counsel, by first class mail, a notice setting 4.9 forth a short plain written statement of the alleged facts which 4.10 support the finding of probable cause and an enumeration of the 4.11 provisions of law allegedly violated. If the commissioner 4.12 determines that attempts to eliminate the alleged unfair 4.13 practices through conciliation pursuant to subdivision 5 have 4.14 been or would be unsuccessful or unproductive, the commissioner 4.15 shall issue a complaint and serve on the respondent, by 4.16 registered or certified mail, a written notice of hearing 4.17 together with a copy of the complaint, requiring the respondent 4.18 to answer the allegations of the complaint at a hearing before 4.19 an administrative law judge at a time and place specified in the 4.20 notice, not less than ten days after service of said complaint. 4.21 A copy of the notice shall be furnished to the charging party 4.22 and the attorney general. 4.23 (4) If, at any time after the filing of a charge, the 4.24 commissioner has reason to believe that a respondent has engaged 4.25 in any unfair discriminatory practice, the commissioner may file 4.26 a petition in the district court in a county in which the 4.27 subject of the complaint occurs, or in a county in which a 4.28 respondent resides or transacts business, seeking appropriate 4.29 temporary relief against the respondent, pending final 4.30 determination of proceedings under this chapter, including an 4.31 order or decree restraining the respondent from doing or 4.32 procuring an act tending to render ineffectual an order the 4.33 commissioner may enter with respect to the complaint. The court 4.34 shall have power to grant temporary relief or a restraining 4.35 order as it deems just and proper, but no relief or order 4.36 extending beyond ten days shall be granted except by consent of 5.1 the respondent or after hearing upon notice to the respondent 5.2 and a finding by the court that there is reasonable cause to 5.3 believe that the respondent has engaged in a discriminatory 5.4 practice. Except as modified by this section, the Minnesota 5.5 rules of civil procedure shall apply to an application, and the 5.6 district court shall have authority to grant or deny the relief 5.7 sought on conditions as it deems just and equitable. All 5.8 hearings under this section shall be given precedence as nearly 5.9 as practicable over all other pending civil actions. 5.10 (5) If a lessor, after engaging in a discriminatory 5.11 practice defined in section 363.03, subdivision 2, clause 5.12 (1)(a), leases or rents a dwelling unit to a person who has no 5.13 knowledge of the practice or of the existence of a charge with 5.14 respect to the practice, the lessor shall be liable for actual 5.15 damages sustained by a person by reason of a final order as 5.16 provided in this section requiring the person to be evicted from 5.17 the dwelling unit. 5.18 (6) In any complaint issued under this section, the 5.19 commissioner may seek relief for a class of individuals affected 5.20 by an unfair discriminatory practice occurring on or after a 5.21 date one year prior to the filing of the charge from which the 5.22 complaint originates. 5.23 (7) The commissioner may adopt policies to determine which 5.24 charges are processed and the order in which charges are 5.25 processed based on their particular social or legal 5.26 significance, administrative convenience, difficulty of 5.27 resolution, or other standard consistent with the provisions of 5.28 this chapter. 5.29 (8) The chief administrative law judge shall adopt policies 5.30 to provide sanctions for intentional and frivolous delay caused 5.31 by any charging party or respondent in an investigation, 5.32 hearing, or any other aspect of proceedings before the 5.33 department under this chapter. 5.34 Sec. 4. Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 363.061, 5.35 subdivision 2, is amended to read: 5.36 Subd. 2. [ACCESS TO OPEN FILES.] (a) Except as otherwise 6.1 provided in this subdivision, human rights investigative data 6.2 contained in an open case file are confidential data on 6.3 individuals or protected nonpublic data. The name and address 6.4 of the charging party and respondent, factual basis of the 6.5 allegations, and the statute under which the action is brought 6.6 are private data on individuals or nonpublic data but are 6.7 accessible to the charging party and the respondent. 6.8 (b) After making a finding of probable cause, the6.9 commissioner may make human rights investigative data contained6.10 in an open case file accessible to a person, government agency,6.11 or the public if access will aid the investigative and6.12 enforcement process.After a charge has been filed, the 6.13 commissioner may disclose information to persons as the 6.14 commissioner deems necessary (1) to facilitate investigation or 6.15 disposition of the charge, or (2) to promote public health or 6.16 safety. The commissioner may also disclose data about an open 6.17 case file to another governmental entity to assist that entity 6.18 or the department in processing a complaint or to eliminate 6.19 duplication of efforts in the investigation of the same or 6.20 similar facts as alleged in the charge. To the extent that data 6.21 are disclosed to other governmental entities, it must be 6.22 stipulated that section 13.03, subdivision 4, applies to the 6.23 classification of the data. 6.24 (c) After making a finding of probable cause, the 6.25 commissioner may make human rights investigative data contained 6.26 in an open case file accessible to a person, government agency, 6.27 or the public if access will aid the investigative and 6.28 enforcement process.