Legal Memorandum: Discriminatory Practices by Property Owners in MN

Issue: Does the Minnesota Human Rights Act prohibit a property owner from sending notices in English only, or discriminating based on a person’s unlawful immigration status?

Area of Law: Constitutional Law, Litigation & Procedure, Real Estate Law
Keywords: Unfair, discriminatory practice; Property owner; Unlawful immigration status
Jurisdiction: Minnesota
Cited Cases: 171 F.3d 478; 717 F.2d 36; 475 F.2d 738; 788 N.W.2d 76; 24 F.3d 444; 500 F.3d 523
Cited Statutes: Minn. Stat. § 363A.09, subd. 1(2)
Date: 04/01/2013

MHRA makes it an “unfair, discriminatory practice” for an owner of real property:

to discriminate against any person or group of persons because of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, disability, sexual orientation, or familial status in the terms, conditions or privileges of the sale, rental or lease of any real property or in the furnishing of facilities or services in connection therewith, except that nothing in this clause shall be construed to prohibit the adoption of reasonable rules intended to protect the safety of minors in their use of the real property or any facilities or services furnished in connection therewith;


Minn. Stat. § 363A.09, subd. 1(2).  Labels and conclusory assertions should not be considered.  Bahr v. Capella Univ., 788 N.W.2d 76, 80 (Minn. 2010).  There is no requirement under § 363A.09—or any other provision of the MHRA—that requires any writing to any person to be translated into Spanish or any other foreign language, regardless of his or her race or national origin. 

“It has long been established that due process allows notice of a hearing (and its attendant procedures and consequences) to be given solely in English to a non-English speaker if the notice would put a reasonable recipient on notice that further inquiry is required.”  Nazarova v. INS, 171 F.3d 478, 483 (7th Cir. 1999); see, e.g., Toure v. United States, 24 […]

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