Civil rights in human services

  • Minnesota Department of Human Services Civil Rights Plan (PDF)

  • What you should know about fair treatment in service delivery

    Your right to fair treatment

    The Department of Human Services (DHS), county human service agencies and other service providers are committed to providing equal access to programs and services for eligible Minnesotans. It is also important for applicants and clients to know and understand their civil rights. They have the right to fair and equal treatment from service providers and the right to file a complaint with federal, state or local human service agencies if they feel they have been treated in a discriminatory way in receiving services.

    Our role in preventing discrimination

    DHS works with county agencies and other service providers to help eligible individuals and families meet basic human needs. To make services possible, DHS receives funding from federal agencies. As a recipient of federal funding, DHS must treat all applicants and clients fairly and equally. To prevent discrimination, DHS has a civil rights plan. The plan includes an equal opportunity policy and a procedure for filing complaints. The plan also identifies a contact person who you can call to speak about civil rights matters.

    The role of county human services agencies and other providers

    County human service agencies and other providers also receive federal funds to operate public programs. Like DHS, they must follow civil rights requirements. They must treat applicants and clients equally and have an equal opportunity policy and complaint procedure available for the public.

    Who to contact

    DHS has a civil rights contact person who makes sure that applicants and clients have equal access to services. This person is responsible for:

  • • Handling discrimination complaints
  • • Keeping civil rights records and files
  • • Giving information about civil rights laws and other matters to human services workers and applicants, clients and members of the public
  • • Acting as liaison between DHS and federal agencies and others concerned about fair service delivery
  • • Providing training and education to human services workers.
  • To reach the civil rights contact person, call or write to the Equal Opportunity and Access Division.

    How to file a complaint

    All human services agencies must treat you fairly and equally. If you believe that someone working for a human services agency discriminated against you, you may file a civil rights complaint.

    The Minnesota Department of Human Services, Equal Opportunity and Access Division, prohibits discrimination in its programs because of race, color, national origin, creed, religion, sexual orientation, public assistance status, age, disability or sex (including sex stereotypes and gender identity under any health program or activity receiving federal financial assistance). You have one year after the unfair treatment to file a complaint. To ask for a complaint form, contact the Equal Opportunity and Access Division directly:

    Minnesota Department of Human Services
    Equal Opportunity and Access Division

    P.O. Box 64997

    St. Paul, MN 55164-0997

    651-431-3040 (voice) or use your preferred relay service

    If you need help filling out the complaint form, we can help you.

  • • We can provide spoken language interpreters for non-English speakers.
  • • We can provide a reasonable modification, auxiliary aids/services, or provide accessible formats for a disability, such as a sign language interpreter, Braille or large print materials.
  • To arrange for an interpreter, accessible formats, a reasonable modification or auxiliary aids/services, contact the Equal Opportunity and Access Division at the above address.

    If you file a complaint against a human services agency, agency workers cannot punish or retaliate against you in any way. If this happens, report it to the Equal Opportunity and Access Division.

    If you want to file a complaint with your county agency, contact the agency director and ask for its complaint procedure.

    Other important agencies

    The Minnesota Department of Human Rights prohibits discrimination in public services programs because of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, or public assistance status. You have one year after the unfair treatment to file a complaint. To ask for a complaint form, contact the Minnesota Department of Human Rights directly:

    Minnesota Department of Human Rights

    Freeman Building, 625 North Robert Street

    St. Paul, MN 55155

    651-539-1100 (voice)

    800-657-3704 (toll free)

    651-296-1283 (TTY)

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights prohibits discrimination in its programs because of race, color, national origin, age, disability and in some cases religion and sex. You have 180 days after the unfair treatment to file a complaint. To ask for a complaint form, contact the federal agency directly:

    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

    Office for Civil Rights, Region V

    233 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 240

    Chicago, IL 60601

    312-886-2359 (voice)

    800-368-1019 (toll free)

    800-537-7697 (TTY)

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)

    If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office, or call 866-632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax 202-690-7442 or email at program.intake@usda.gov.

    Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339; or 800-845-6136 (Spanish).

    For any other information dealing with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) issues, persons should either contact the USDA SNAP Hotline Number at 800-221-5689, which is also in Spanish or call the state information/hotline

    numbers (click the link for a listing of hotline numbers by state); found online at

    http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/contact_info/hotlines.htm.

    USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

    Contact the Equal Opportunity and Access Division with any questions about this website page:

    Minnesota Department of Human Services

    Equal Opportunity and Access Division

    P.O. Box 64997

    St. Paul, MN 55164-0997

    651-431-3040 (voice) or use your preferred relay service


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