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      Discrimination is action that denies social participation or human rights to categories of people based on prejudice. This includes treatment of an individual or group based on their actual or perceived membership in a certain group or social category, “in a way that is worse than the way people are usually treated”. It involves the group’s initial reaction or interaction, influencing the individual’s actual behavior towards the group or the group leader, restricting members of one group from opportunities or privileges that are available to another group, leading to the exclusion of the individual or entities based on logical or irrational decision making. Not all discrimination is based on prejudice, however. In the U.S., government policy known as affirmative action was instituted to encourage employers and universities to seek out and accept groups such as African-Americans and women, who have been subject to the opposite kind of discrimination for a long time. Discriminatory traditions, policies, ideas, practices, and laws exist in many countries and institutions in every part of the world, even in ones where discrimination is generally looked down upon. In some places, controversial attempts such as quotas have been used to benefit those believed to be current or past victims of discrimination—but have sometimes been called reverse discrimination themselves.

      Minnesota and federal laws exist to rid workplaces of many forms of employment discrimination. The law provides strong protections within employment discrimination and retaliation for employees.  We are capable, experienced lawyers in employment discrimination law. The Minnesota Human Rights Act (“MHRA”) and related federal laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protect employees from discrimination based on age, disability, gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation, national origin, race and marital and caregiver status.  These laws also apply to hostile work environments when the hostile treatment is due to the employee’s protected status. Service members are also protected from discrimination under the Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”).

      Employees have additional rights and protections when employers conduct workplace drug and alcohol testing or perform employment background checks. Finally, wrongful terminations may be unlawful and actionable if the termination has violated the rights of the employee under state or federal law.