What is the Statute of Limitations under the Minnesota Human Rights Act?
The Minnesota Human Rights Act (“MHRA”) requires that employees (1) bring a civil action, (2) file a charge with a local commission, or (3) file a charge with the commissioner within one year after the discriminatory practice occurred. Minn. Stat. § 363A.28. The running of the one-year statute of limitations period is suspended while the parties engage in a dispute resolution process, such as arbitration or mediation.
If an employee chooses to first bring a charge of discrimination with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (“MDHR”), the employee may subsequently bring a civil action. When doing so, the civil action must be brought:
- Within 45 days after receipt of notice that the commissioner has dismissed a charge;
- Within 45 days after receipt of notice that the commissioner has reaffirmed a determination of no probable cause or has decided not to reopen a dismissed case; or
- After 45 days from filing of charge, if a hearing has not been held or if the commissioner has not entered into a conciliation agreement that the charging employee signed. The charging party must also notify the commissioner of an intention to bring a civil action, which must be commenced within 90 days of giving the notice.
Takeaway: As soon as employers receive an employee’s charge of discrimination or civil action, which alleges discrimination in violation of the MHRA, they should make sure that the employee has met the applicable statute of limitations. If the employee failed to timely file a charge or initiate a civil action, the employer has a strong defense and may be able to get the claim dismissed.