Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights
The mission of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) is to enforce Minneapolis Code of Ordinances Title 7 (non-discrimination); Title 9, Chapter 172 (police conduct oversight); Title 16, Chapter 423 (small and underutilized business programs); Title 2, Chapter 24 (prevailing wage); Title 2, Chapter 40 (sick and safe time and minimum wage); and to promote understanding of civil rights among residents, businesses and government. The Department will carry out this mission by:
- Investigating discriminatory practices against members of protected classes
- Ensuring that City of Minneapolis procurement of construction and development services, commodities and supplies, and professional and technical services includes women, minorities, and low income workers and businesses
- Investigating and making recommendations regarding complaints brought against any Minneapolis Police Officer
Latest News & Updates
2020 History Makers at Home
We're pleased to announce the recipients of this year's History Makers at Home award! Introduced by the department in 2015, History Makers at Home is a profile series featuring African American leaders from around the state. These individuals share our ideals of advancing civil rights and removing barriers to equity in the fields of criminal justice, education, economic development, health, housing, government, and more. Whether “home” is defined as a city, region, or state, the department is pleased to honor changemakers who are creating a lasting impact for future generations.
- Dr. LaPrincess Brewer - Assistant Professor, Cardiology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
- Dr. Brittany Lewis - Research Associate, Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, University of Minnesota
- Dr. Verna Cornelia Price and Brother Shane Price - Co-Founders, The Power of People Leadership Institute
- Dr. Artika Tyner - Director, Center on Race, Leadership and Social Justice, University of St. Thomas School of Law
- Houston White - Owner/Creator, HWMR and the Black Excellence Movement
- Tracey Williams-Dillard - CEO/Publisher, Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
Approximately 1-2 History Makers are highlighted each week throughout February as part of the department’s Black History Month celebrations. Recipients will be recognized at a ceremony on February 20, 2020 at noon at Minneapolis City Hall. All are welcome!
Proposed Ban on "Conversion Therapy"
The city recently proposed a new ordinance that would make it unlawful for any provider in Minneapolis to provide "conversion therapy" or "reparative therapy" to a minor.
Also known as “ex-gay therapy” or “sexual orientation change efforts,” conversion therapy includes a range of dangerous and discredited practices aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation or efforts to change a person’s gender identity or expression. Learn more about the details of this proposed ordinance.
MDCR Responds to Proposed Changes to HUD's Disparate Impact Rule
This summer, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposed changes to how it interprets the Fair Housing Act's disparate impact standard. The process includes a public comment period that closes October 18, 2019.
If these changes were to go into effect, we believe they would make it more difficult for people to bring forward discrimination complaints under the Fair Housing Act. View Director Korbel's full response to these proposed changes.
Let's Do Business!
Thank you to everyone who helped make the first ever Minneapolis Black Business Week such a success! Civil Rights co-hosted one of the first events called "Let's Do Business!" The purpose was to connect minority-owned businesses with resources, upcoming purchasing opportunities, and a place to network with other entrepreneurs and business leaders from around the Twin Cities. We look forward to building on our success in 2020!
Check out the slides from the presentation:
View potential contracting opportunities with the City of Minneapolis:
2018 Community Report
We're pleased to present our 2018 Community Report! This annual publication highlights the work of our department from the past year and provides an overview of each division. Enjoy!
Minimum Wage Increases July 1 in Minneapolis
On July 1, 2019, the minimum wage in Minneapolis is going up to $11 for small employers and $12.25 for large employers.
The Minneapolis minimum wage ordinance defines small businesses as 100 or fewer employees and large businesses as more than 100 employees. Tips and gratuities do not count toward payment of a minimum wage.
The City’s Department of Civil Rights oversees enforcement of the municipal minimum wage, and workers are encouraged to report violations online. The City has received 28 reports of minimum wage violations to date. Employees have received over $21,000 in back wages and penalties as a result of investigations into those violations.
Increases in Minneapolis’ minimum wage benefit tens of thousands of families. The ordinance supports the City’s goals of promoting economic inclusion and reducing economic and racial disparities.
IMPORTANT: Update Regarding Sick and Safe Time Ordinance
The Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time ordinance took effect July 1, 2017. Previous litigation temporarily suspended enforcement against “non-resident” employers. However, the effective date of July 1, 2017 remains unchanged.
Following the Minnesota Court of Appeals’ recent decision, the Department of Civil Rights has the responsibility to fully enforce the law. All covered employees, including employees of “non-resident” employers, are entitled to accrued Sick and Safe time based upon hours worked in the City of Minneapolis since July 1, 2017. Employers must review their records and provide covered employees with accrued Sick and Safe time accordingly.
2019 History Makers at Home
In honor of Black History Month, the Civil Rights Department is proud to sponsor History Makers at Home, a profile series featuring African American leaders from across Minnesota.
What is History Makers at Home?
History Makers at Home recognizes leaders in the areas of business, criminal justice, education, economic development, health, housing, and government. Whether “home” is defined as a city, region, or state, these individuals are changemakers who are creating a lasting impact on their community.
Each week, History Makers at Home will highlight different History Makers throughout the month of February. Each profile is also paired with a legacy trailblazer as a unique way to celebrate the work of the past, present, and future (see profiles of last year’s History Makers).
Call for Nominations
Nominations are now closed.
Questions? Please contact [email protected].
Focus on Fair Housing
November 14, 2018
This week, the Civil Rights Department was pleased to host a panel event about fair housing at the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery. Panelists included experts from HUD, Dept. of Justice, Legal Aid, Dorsey & Whitney LLP, and Minneapolis Civil Rights. Moderated by our own Director Korbel, the discussion centered on housing discrimination and civil rights violations from both a homeowner and renter perspective. This event engaged community members who raised tough but important questions and began connecting residents with those who have the right knowledge, tools, and experience to help.
Thank you to our panelists and all the community members who helped make this event a success. We look forward to more discussion and action around this topic in the future.
Welcome Franklin Reed
The Civil Rights Department is pleased to introduce Franklin Reed as our new director of the Complaint Investigations Division (CID).
Frank brings a variety of experience to his new role. Prior to joining the Civil Rights Department, he was with the Hennepin County Fourth Judicial District Court. Frank also performed ongoing work with the International Leadership Institute in Nairobi, Kenya, the Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis (now Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid), and the office of the Minneapolis City Attorney.
As the Director of CID, Frank will lead a team of investigators who are tasked with enforcing the Minneapolis Civil Rights Ordinance and informing residents of their rights. He will also have staff oversight of the Minneapolis Commission on Civil Rights.
Frank replaces Danielle Shelton Walczak, who recently took on a new role in the City Coordinator’s Office.
Like many others on our team, Frank brings a great passion for serving the residents of Minneapolis. His work in diverse communities, experience in fair housing, and his familiarity with the City are valuable assets that will surely help move the Department forward as we carry out our mission.
Welcome, Frank! Congratulations!
2017 Community Report
September 5, 2018
The Civil Rights Department is pleased to announce the release of our 2017 Community Report. This annual publication is a great way to help people stay informed and connected with our work. There's a summary of accomplishments from each division, as well as updates from our committees and commissions. We hope you take a moment to check it out!
29th Annual Family Day
August 11, 2018
The highlight of this month was MDCR's participation in the Minneapolis Urban League's 29th Annual Family Day. Filled with sun, fun, music, and good food, we were happy to join our community in this wonderful celebration. What a great way to end our 2018 summer outreach events!
Doing Business with the City of Minneapolis
July 26, 2018
This July, the Civil Rights Department was excited to host an event for small business owners and woman/minority-owned businesses. The event took place in South Minneapolis at Gandhi Mahal. The purpose was to create a space for business owners to network and connect directly with purchasing and procurement staff from various City departments. We reviewed the ins and outs of how to conduct business with the City, as well as upcoming business opportunities. We also informed people of various resources and certifications for which their business may be eligible as a small/woman/minority-owned enterprise.
We had a great turnout from members of the community and City staff. And everyone enjoyed the delicious offerings from Gandhi Mahal!
This was the second time that we held this event. The first took place in May in North Minneapolis. We look forward to continue working with business owners to promote and expand opportunities in our local communities.
MDCR in the Community: Summer Outreach Events
This June, the Civil Rights Department celebrates several events in support of local communities, including Juneteenth, Pride Month, and Somali Independence Day. For these events, we get a chance to table and join in the festivities, visit with members of the community, and help raise awareness about people's rights in Minneapolis and throughout the state.
This year, Juneteenth celebrations took place across the city on June 16th. Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day, was first established in Texas in 1865. It commemorates the abolition of slavery in Texas and the emancipation of the last remaining slaves in the United States. This came two years after President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, and it's still unclear as to why it took so long for this news to reach Texas. Regardless, Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration observing the end of slavery in the U.S. Historically, celebrations in the Twin Cities have been among the largest in the country.
June is also Pride Month, which commemorates the Stonewall Riots of 1969. These riots were a series of demonstrations by members of the LGBTQ+ community in response to a police raid that took place in New York City in 1969. These events are considered one of the biggest catalysts leading to the gay liberation movement. Locally, Pride Month and the Pride Parade have been traditions in the Twin Cities since 1972. This year, the Pride festival took place in Loring Park on June 23-24. Though it bears a violent beginning, Pride is now observed as a fun and hugely popular celebration of LGBTQ+ rights, culture, and communities.
To end the month, the Civil Rights Department participated in Somali Week by tabling at the Somali Independence Day Festival on June 30th. Having grown from 5,000-8,000 participants to over 40,000 participants, this festival marks the Minnesota Somali community's largest celebration of the year. In 2018, the theme was Promoting Diversity through Unity and Inclusion. The week-long celebration included a screening of the documentary "Xasuuso (Remember) 1960," a soccer tournament, and the Somali Independence Day Festival, a street festival with music, food, and games.
The Civil Rights Department is honored to have shared in the celebration of these remarkable and unique communities. We look forward to the rest of the summer, which brings more opportunities for us to get out and connect with the amazing residents of Minneapolis!
April is Fair Housing Month
April 17, 2018
This April, as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we also mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Commonly referred to as the Fair Housing Act, this legislation was co-sponsored by Senators Edward Brooke and Walter Mondale and was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson just 7 days after the assassination of Dr. King.
Just as it was five decades ago, the Fair Housing Act remains a cornerstone in the fight against discrimination and unjust outcomes in our communities. Along with disparities in economic development, education, healthcare, and criminal justice (to name a few), access to housing is one of the many interconnected issues that contribute to the inequities we see today.
To kick off Fair Housing Month this year, the Department held its first meeting of the Civil Rights Housing Advisory Group on April 12th. Composed of external and internal stakeholders who are policy experts, the group will work with Civil Rights staff in the coming months to advance the goals of fair and affordable housing for the residents of Minneapolis. Through discussion and analysis, the group will examine various policies and processes, identifying ways the Department can leverage its authority to facilitate change.
We look forward to sharing more about the Housing Advisory Group in the future!
The Civil Rights Labor Standards Enforcement Division: Educating Employers and Enforcing New Labor Laws
March 7, 2018
In its first year of operation, the Minneapolis Labor Standards Enforcement Division (LSED) has worked diligently to conduct outreach and education to employers, employees, and the general public on changes to local labor laws and policies to mitigate violations and to increase compliance. LSED is responsible for enforcing the City’s Sick and Safe Time Ordinance, which went into effect on July 1st, 2017 and its Municipal Minimum Wage Ordinance, which took effect on January 1st, 2018.
Outreach to Employers, Employees, and the General Public
- Since the Sick and Safe Time Ordinance went into effect, LSED has worked with over 700 employers to provide information and technical assistance.
- LSED has written enforcement rules for both ordinances and responded to more than 1000 inquiries from employers and workers. To date, LSED has also conducted 64 informational meetings or outreach events to groups of employers and employees.
- In order to better inform the public about changes under the new ordinances, LSED also launched a media campaign that included paid media and earned media to raise awareness in neighborhoods and communities where workers stand to be most impacted by both ordinances. Additionally, LSED created websites, published frequently asked questions (FAQs) for both ordinances, and created posters in multiple languages to increase access across diverse communities.
Investigating Violations and Enforcing Employer Compliance
- To date, LSED has completed 78 investigations as a result of complaints from employees; 55 of which confirmed some type of initial violation and ended with an employer’s compliance.
- In January, LSED ordered the largest settlement to date, $11,000 for an employee who had been the subject of a sick time violation by their employer.
LSED has also recruited volunteers for the Workplace Advisory Committee (WAC) from large business, small business, government, and non-profit organizations to represent a variety of perspectives as the WAC assists with implementation and future labor standards policy recommendations. LSED has made great strides with just a three-person staff and a tremendous amount of relationship-building with City departments and willing partners throughout the city. Stay tuned.
Last updated Jan 24, 2020