Minneapolis addressing discrimination in public accommodations
MINNEAPOLIS (Nov. 22, 2016) — The City of Minneapolis is addressing discrimination in businesses through education, extensive investigation and enforcement.
All people have the right to receive service, free from discrimination, from any business that obtains or solicits customers from the general public. Minneapolis bans discrimination in public accommodations based on race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, marital status, and status regarding public assistance.
Public accommodations are establishments that provide goods and services to the general public; these include taxicab and on-demand ride services; restaurants, bars and food vendors; theaters; hotels; health and fitness clubs; hospitals; libraries; gas stations and retail stores.
“No one in Minneapolis or anywhere in this country should ever be discriminated against simply for being who they are,” said Mayor Betsy Hodges. “Any act of discrimination is beyond unacceptable — it is a violation of our standards of humanity and decency.”
“In the City’s most recent resident survey, 13 percent of respondents indicated they had been discriminated against while getting service in a restaurant or store,” said Council Member Abdi Warsame. “Now the City will not only investigate and enforce antidiscrimination laws but also go out and educate businesses about their rights and obligations. We will also educate customers about prohibited behaviors and recourse they can take.”
City staff will hold listening sessions Dec. 6 and Dec. 13 to educate the community at large about protections against discrimination. Members of the community can also learn about their legal right to file a complaint of discrimination. Check www.minneapolismn.gov/civilrights or call 311 for more information.
The City plans to hold sessions for Minneapolis business owners and employees in January.
The investigations include using “testers” with diverse racial, gender, sexual orientation and economic backgrounds who also represent people with disabilities to act as patrons and document the treatment they receive.
Businesses that do not cease discriminatory practices are subject to fines, damages and penalties; prolonged monitoring and ultimately license revocation.
Discrimination in public accommodations adversely affects the health, welfare, peace and safety of the community. Discriminatory practices degrade individuals and foster intolerance and hate, thereby injuring the public welfare.
Find out what Minneapolis is doing to investigate and stop discrimination here.