Minnesota Legislature Introduces Separate Bills to Modify Sexual Harassment Standard
The Minnesota Legislature is considering two bills related to the standard for sexual harassment claims under the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA).
On March 21, the Minnesota House passed H.F. 10, which seeks to change the definition of “sexual harassment” under the MHRA. The proposed language provides that conduct need not be “severe or pervasive” to constitute sexual harassment. A similar bill was introduced in 2018 and failed. If the proposed bill is successful, it will lower the threshold for actionable sexual harassment claims.
Additionally, this month, the Senate introduced S.F. 2295, which would modify the precedential effect of certain case law regarding what conduct constitutes sexual harassment. The proposal purports to clarify legislative intent for sexual harassment claims under the MHRA by stating that Minnesota courts “should not be bound by prior federal case law” regarding sexual harassment claims and specifically identifying certain Federal cases. It also appears to modify the standard for holding employers liable for harassment by supervisors established in Frieler v. CMG (Minnesota Supreme Court 2018).
Takeaway: This legislation will dramatically affect how sexual harassment cases are litigated in Minnesota. If this is of importance to you or your business, you should contact your local senators and representatives.
Posted on March 25, 2019, in Discrimination and Harassment, Employment Policies and Agreements, Litigation, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Minnesota Legislature Introduces Separate Bills to Modify Sexual Harassment Standard.