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); 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
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 Aug 3, 2018