Charge of discrimination process

We explain the process we follow if your complaint becomes a charge.

Case process

During the complaint process:

  • You will be the complainant.
  • The company or organization you are accusing of discrimination will be the respondent. 
  • Make sure to tell us if your contact information changes.


After you submit a complaint form If we can investigate your complaint Before we can proceed
  • An intake officer will gather more information.
  • We will review the complaint to make sure it:
    • Happened in Minneapolis within the last year
    • Falls under the ordinance

Read the Minneapolis Civil Rights ordinance

We will work with you to draft a charge. 

A charge is a formal document that starts a discrimination case with the Department.

It sets out the:

  • Basis for discrimination (e.g., race or disability)
  • Area of discrimination (e.g., employment or housing)
  • Basic facts of the discriminatory event(s)

See how and when to file a complaint

You must:

  • Review
  • Sign
  • Date


paper cutouts representing people

Discrimination video

We explain how to file a complaint of discrimination. We also describe the investigation process under the Minneapolis Civil Rights Ordinance. The video is available in four languages.

What happens after a charge is filed

We send:

  • The respondent a copy of the charge
  • Both sides an invitation to voluntary early mediation

Early mediation is:

  • With one of our trained mediators
  • Voluntary
  • A chance to settle the case early

The case follows the usual process if:

  • One or both parties don’t want to try early mediation
  • The case doesn’t settle in early mediation

Respondent process

  • Must respond to charge within 20 days if early meditation does not happen or fails.
  • Provides their perspective in a document called the position statement.
  • Can submit evidence.

Complainant process

  • Gets a copy of the position statement.
  • Has 15 days to respond to the position statement. The response is called the rebuttal.
  • Can submit more evidence.


After complainant's deadline to submit a rebuttal

The case moves into investigation.

During investigation, the Complaint Investigations Division may:

  • Call or email either side with questions
  • Take steps to gather any extra evidence
  • Require mediation
  • Decide we have everything we need and do a legal analysis

Possible outcomes

There are three possible outcomes:

  • No probable cause
    The complainant did not meet their burden of proof to show discrimination. This determination:
    • Is based on what was presented to the Department
    • Does not mean that a complainant did not experience discrimination
    • Means there is not enough evidence to prove discrimination
  • Probable cause
    This determination means:
    • The Department found that the complainant met their burden of proof.
    • The complainant showed that the respondent discriminated against them.
  • Dismissal
    Dismissals are not common. They may happen when the:
    • Complainant repeatedly fails to respond to the Department’s requests
    • Department later determines it does not have authority to investigate

The Civil Rights Department will notify the complainant and respondent in writing of our decision.

Possible next steps

Probable cause

If the Department issues a probable cause determination, we will schedule conciliation.


The Department is a party to the case during conciliation.

In conciliation:

  • The complainant, the respondent and the Department meet with a mediator to try to reach a settlement.
  • Each party should be ready to discuss settlement.
  • The Department often seeks:
    • Changes to training
    • Policies
    • A civil penalty from the respondent

Read about the mediation process

Public hearing

A public hearing is like a trial:

  • Each side presents evidence.
  • A panel of three Civil Rights Commissioners hears and makes a decision on your case.

No probable cause

If the Department issues a no probable cause determination, you have the right to appeal. 


Complainants have 15 days to appeal the decision:

  • A panel of Civil Rights Commissioners reviews appeals.
  • The panel can sustain, reverse or remand the decision for further investigation.  

Read about the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission

Contact us

Complaint Investigations Division

Kaela McConnon Diarra




City Hall
350 Fifth St. S., Room 239
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Office hours
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Monday – Friday