Minnesota Department of Transportation

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MnDOT Policies

Discrimination

MnDOT Policy HR3.9
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Policy statement

The Minnesota Department of Transportation will not tolerate unlawful discrimination in employment actions, including but not limited to: hiring, terms and conditions of appointment, benefits, training, discipline, compensation, promotions, working conditions, or discharge on the basis of:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Creed
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Sex
  • Marital status
  • Status with regard to public assistance
  • Membership or activity in a local human rights commission
  • Disability
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age

It is the responsibility of MnDOT managers/supervisors to provide a workplace free from such unlawful discrimination and of all employees not to engage in such unlawful discrimination. All employees who believe they have been discriminated against are to report their concerns immediately. Managers/supervisors shall take prompt action in response to reports of discrimination. Acts of unlawful discrimination are grounds for disciplinary action up to and including discharge from employment.

Reason for policy

The purpose of this policy statement is to describe the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s position against discrimination and to remind all employees that unlawful discrimination is prohibited at MnDOT and will not be tolerated. Strong, properly administered anti-discrimination policies and procedures are good business practices as well as legally required.

Who needs to know this policy

  • All MnDOT employees
  • All third parties conducting business with MnDOT

Definitions

Unlawful discrimination

Unlawful discrimination means adverse employment actions made on the basis of a person’s race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, martial status, status with regard to public assistance, membership or activity in a local human rights commission, disability, sexual orientation and age which are not legitimate or justified by business necessity. “Unlawful discrimination” includes unlawful discriminatory harassment as explained in the MnDOT Harassment Policy, and sexual harassment as explained in the MnDOT Sexual Harassment Policy.

Employment Actions

Employment Actions include hiring, discharge, tenure, compensation, terms, upgrading, conditions, facilities or privileges of employment. “Adverse employment actions” include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Refusal to hire an applicant
  2. Denial of benefits or training opportunities
  3. Demotion
  4. Denial of promotion
  5. Discharge of an employee

Adverse employment actions can result from international discrimination or the use of employment systems that have the unintended effect of unlawfully discriminating against groups of persons.

Internal Complaint

Internal Complaint means a dispute or disagreement raised by a person against a MnDOT employee or regarding a MnDOT practice or procedure.

External Complaint

External Complaint means a complaint filed by a person with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR), regarding a MnDOT practice or procedure.

Age discrimination

Age discrimination means discrimination on the basis of age (the person subjected to discrimination is 18 years or older).

Disability

Disability means a physical, sensory, or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. A disabled person:

  1. Has a disability;
  2. Has a record of such impairment; or
  3. Is regarded as having such an impairment.

Martial status

Martial status means whether a person is married, single, remarried, divorced, separated, or a surviving spouse; and includes protection against discrimination on the basis of the identity, situation, actions, or beliefs of a spouse or former spouse.

National origin

National origin means the place of birth of an individual or of any of the individual’s lineal ancestors, or culture or linguistic characteristics common to a specific ethnic group.

Sex

Sex means gender and includes but is not limited to sexual harassment, pregnancy, childbirth, disabilities related to pregnancy and childbirth.

Sexual orientation

Sexual orientation means having or being perceived as having an emotional physical, or sexual attachment to another person without regard to the sex of that person or having or being perceived as having an orientation for such attachment, or having or being perceived as having a self-image or identity not traditionally associated with one’s biological maleness or femaleness.

Procedures

Conduct Which Constitutes Unlawful Discrimination

Some examples of unlawful discrimination include but are not limited to:

  1. Refusing to hire an applicant because she is pregnant; or
  2. Providing training to only one group of employees on the basis of age; or
  3. Refusing to reasonably accommodate a qualified person with a disability; or
  4. Requiring employees to take a test which does not measure legitimate occupational qualifications and which has the effect of disproportionately excluding members of a particular group; or
  5. Refusing to promote an employee on the basis of sexual orientation.

Complaint Resolution Process:

Informal Resolution Concern

Employees can attempt informal resolution of the situation first or they can make the initial complaint directly to the Affirmative Action Officer.

  1. An applicant or employee who has a concern about discrimination can inform the person who is perceived to have behaved in a discriminatory manner that his/her behavior is objectionable and ask that is cease; OR
  2. If the employee is not comfortable confronting the person who is perceived to have behaved in a discriminatory manner directly, the employee can make a complaint of discrimination to his/her direct supervisor or the supervisor of the other person; OR
  3. If the employee’s supervisor is the person perceived to be engaging in unlawful discrimination, the employee can go to his/her next higher supervisor, manager or director.
Formal Complaint Procedure
  1. If a concern is not satisfactorily resolved informally, or if the employee is not comfortable attempting informal resolution, an employee should contact the Affirmative Action Officer.
  2. A complainant will be interviewed and may be requested to submit a complaint in writing, or to sign a completed complaint form. In some situations, when it has notice of a potential problem of discrimination, the Affirmative Action Officer can instruct that an investigation be conducted even if a specific person has not filed a formal complaint.
  3. The Affirmative Action Officer will determine if a complaint is based on protected group status. If the complaint is based on protected group status, the Affirmative Action Officer will work with Labor Relations to determine whether Labor Relations will conduct an investigation. The Labor Relations Section will notify the complainant, in a timely manner, of its decision to investigate or not investigate. Notification of decision to investigate or not to investigate generally will occur within ten business days. If the complaint is not based on protected group status, the Affirmative Action Officer will refer the complaint to Labor Relations Section. A complaint may be referred by the Affirmative Action Officer, the Labor Relations Section or to another MnDOT office or state agency as appropriate.
  4. The investigation may include interviews with the complainant(s), subject(s) of the investigation, and witnesses. The Affirmative Action Officer and the Labor Relations Section may review pertinent documents including but not limited to personnel files, computer files and e-mail.
  5. Upon completion of the investigation, the Labor Relations Section will submit its draft findings to the responsible party in MnDOT who is authorized to resolve the situation and the Affirmative Action Officer for review and comment.
  6. If the investigation results in a finding that discrimination occurred, appropriate action will be taken in a timely manner and may include discipline up to and including discharge. Discipline will be determined on case-by-case basis, after careful review of all the relevant facts and in accordance with the relevant collective bargaining agreements, Manager’s and/or Commissioner’s Plan.
  7. The complainant and witnesses will be notified of the outcome of the investigation in a timely manner, generally within 60 days of the filing of the complaint. Notification will be made in accordance with the requirements of the Minnesota Data Practices Act and other relevant laws.
  8. The Affirmative Action Officer may exceed the timelines stated in this complaint procedure when it is necessary to do so in the determination of the Affirmative Action Officer. Factors may include but are not limited to the scope and complexity of the investigation, number of witnesses, and the availability of investigate resources.

External Complaint Procedure

Any employee or applicant also has the right to file a discrimination complaint with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or an appropriate court of law. Complaints made to the above agencies or in a court of law must be filed within certain time limitations after the occurrence of the alleged discriminatory incident.

Responsibilities

Managers/Supervisors

  1. Model appropriate behavior in the workplace.
  2. Take necessary steps to protect employees from unlawful discrimination in the workplace.
  3. Receive and respond to reports of unlawful discrimination in consultation with the Affirmative Action Officer and/or the Labor Relations Section.
  4. Hold employees who violate MnDOT’s discrimination policy accountable and take appropriate disciplinary action when complaints are substantiated.
  5. As required, participate in internal MnDOT investigations by providing truthful, accurate and complete information.
  6. As required, testify truthfully in administrative and legal proceedings.

Employees

  1. Model appropriate behavior in the workplace.
  2. Inform supervisor/manager and/or the Affirmative Action Officer, promptly of any concerns regarding unlawful discrimination.
  3. As required, participate in internal MnDOT investigations by providing truthful, accurate and complete information.
  4. As required, testify truthfully in administrative and legal proceedings.

Affirmative Action Officer

  1. Counsel manager/supervisors and employees regarding discrimination issues and complaints.
  2. Receive and evaluate complaints of unlawful discrimination. Appropriately refer internal and external complainants to the Labor Relations Section for investigation or response.
  3. Where investigation or response is not warranted, ensure appropriate follow-up action is taken.
  4. Make recommendations to MnDOT management regarding appropriate actions to be taken in response to an internal and external complaint of discrimination in consultation with Labor Relations.

Labor Relations Section, Office of Human Resources

  1. Thoroughly and impartially investigate all internal complaints referred to its office.
  2. Prepare written position statements and responses for external complaints.
  3. Present draft investigative reports and position statements to Affirmative Action Officer and management for review and comment.
  4. In consultation with the Affirmative Action Officer, make recommendations to the appropriate MnDOT management regarding appropriate follow-up actions including discipline.

Related information

History

Amended/Revised

  • First Revision June 12th, 2002

Effective

January 25th, 2000

Ownership

Please go to the MnDOT Org Chart to find specific contact information: Org Chart.

Responsible Senior Officer

Deputy Commissioner/Chief Engineer

Policy Owner

Office Director
Office of Equity and Diversity

Policy Contact

Office Director
Office of Equity and Diversity