Arriving at a Minnesota Court House Near You: Jury Trials Under the State’s Human Rights Act

It used to be that any employment discrimination claims under the Minnesota Human Rights Act that went to court were decided by a judge sitting without a jury. No more. Now a jury of one’s peers will now be allowed to decide on employment discrimination and retaliation claims under the statute.

That’s due to an amendment to the law that was signed by Governor Mark Dayton in May. The amendment took effect last Friday, August 1.

A jury finding that discrimination has occurred will be able to award any remedy that the court could order, including compensatory and punitive damages against the violator

It will be interesting to see how widespread use of a jury is in these cases and if the mere threat of a jury trial compels employers to settle some of these claims rather than take their chances with 12 ordinary citizens.

Here’s the text of the amended law.

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