The Minnesota Human Rights Act prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the basis of sex (including sexual harassment, pregnancy, childbirth, and disabilities related to pregnancy and childbirth), sexual orientation (including gender identity), marital status, familial status, and pregnancy and related medical conditions (MN Stat. Sec. 363A.01 et seq.). The Act covers employers with one or more employees, including public employers. State agencies are also covered by civil service laws that require nondiscrimination in all state personnel actions (MN Stat. Sec. 43A.01 et seq.). A separate executive order prohibits the state government from discriminating against any individual on the basis of sexual preference. The order covers all agencies, departments, commissions, and boards in the executive branch of state government (E.O. No. 86-14).
Bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) exception. Differences in treatment are permissible when sex is a BFOQ for the position in question. Thus, preemployment inquiries indicating directly or indirectly a preference in gender may be permissible only if sex is a BFOQ for the vacant position. BFOQs are rare, however, and employers should be very cautious about relying on this exception when making employment decisions that have a discriminatory effect.
Discrimination based on marital status means discriminating against an individual because he or she is single, married, remarried, divorced, separated, or a surviving spouse; or because of the identity, situation, actions, or beliefs of a spouse or former spouse (MN Stat. Sec. 363A.03(24)).
Minnesota courts have interpreted the marital status provision to include denying ...