Legal Memorandum: Violation of Anti-discrimination Provisions

Issue: What constitutes a violation of the anti-discrimination provisions of Chapter 183 of the St. Paul Legislative Code in a rental housing dispute in St. Paul, Minnesota?

Area of Law: Constitutional Law
Keywords: Anti-discrimination povisions; Acts of discrimination
Jurisdiction: Federal, Minnesota
Cited Cases: 413 N.W.2d 269; 469 U.S. 111; 691 F.2d 1364; 355 N.W.2d 149; 814 F. Supp. 766; 320 N.W.2d 426; 214 F.3d 57
Cited Statutes: St. Paul Legislative Code ("Code") § 183.01, § 183.06 (1), §§ 183.02(5), 183.06(1)(a), ; Minn. Stat. § 363A.01 to § 363A.41
Date: 09/01/2010

Chapter 183 of the St. Paul Legislative Code, entitled “Human Rights,”  makes unlawful certain acts of discrimination in connection with  “employment, education, real property, public accommodations, public services, contract, and franchise” based on “race, creed, religion, sex, sexual or affectional orientation, color, national origin, ancestry, familial status, age, disability, marital status or status with regard to public assistance.”  St. Paul Legislative Code (“Code”) § 183.01 (emphasis added).  The provisions are similar to, but by no means identical to, the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA), Minn. Stat. § 363A.01 to § 363A.41.

Unlike the MHRA, the St. Paul ordinance expressly prohibits acts of age discrimination involving real property.*FN1  See Code § 183.06 (1).  Among other things, this provision makes unlawful “all unequal treatment of any person” including the act of  “refusing to … rent, lease or  otherwise deny to or withhold from any person or group of persons any real property,” “by reason of age.” See Code §§ 183.02(5), 183.06(1)(a).  Moreover, merely the act of making a statement or record in connection with the “prospective … rental or lease of real property which indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination” based on age is unlawful.  Code § 183.06(1)(c).  Although there are certain exemptions from or exceptions to these prohibitions, none are encompassed within the stated facts.  See Code § 183.06 (exempting, inter alia, owner-occupied buildings of four or fewer units, foster homes, battered victim shelters).

No reported case was found that involves a claim of age discrimination in housing pursuant to […]

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