Minnesota Department of Human Rights
Army Corps of Engineers Center
190 E. 5th Street. Suite 700
St. Paul, MN 55101
Toll-free: (800) 657-3704
Tel: (651) 296-5663
TDD: (651) 296-1283
256C.02 Public accommodations
Excludes PSDs and owner trained SDs.
256C.02 PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS.
The blind, the visually disabled, and the otherwise physically disabled have the same
right as the able-bodied to the full and free use of the streets, highways, sidewalks, walkways,
public buildings, public facilities, and other public places; and are entitled to full and equal
accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of all common carriers, airplanes, motor
vehicles, railroad trains, motor buses, boats, or any other public conveyances or modes of
transportation, hotels, lodging places, places of public accommodation, amusement, or resort, and
other places to which the general public is invited, subject only to the conditions and limitations
established by law and applicable alike to all persons.
Every totally or partially blind, physically disabled, or deaf person or any person training
a dog to be a service dog shall have the right to be accompanied by a service dog in any of the
places listed in section 363A.19. The person shall be liable for any damage done to the premises
or facilities by such dog. The service dog must be capable of being properly identified as from a
recognized school for seeing eye, hearing ear, service, or guide dogs.
History: 1969 c 900 s 2; 1977 c 247 s 1; 1984 c 655 art 1 s 42; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 141
s 1; 1989 c 108 s 1; 2005 c 56 s 1
256C.025 Housing accommodations
Excludes PSDs and owner trained SDs.
256C.025 HOUSING ACCOMMODATIONS.
Subdivision 1. Full and equal access. Blind persons, visually disabled persons, and other
physically disabled persons shall be entitled to full and equal access, as other members of the
general public, to all housing accommodations offered for rent, lease, or compensation, subject to
the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to all persons.
Subd. 2. Definition. "Housing accommodations" means any real property, or portion thereof,
which is used or occupied or is intended, arranged, or designed to be used or occupied, as the
home, residence or sleeping place of one or more human beings, but shall not include any single
family residence the occupants of which rent, lease, or furnish for compensation not more than
one room therein.
Subd. 3. Limitation on property provision. Nothing in this section shall require any person
renting, leasing, or providing for compensation real property to modify the property in any way or
provide a higher degree of care for a blind person, visually disabled person, or other physically
disabled person than for a person who is not physically disabled.
Subd. 4. Service dog. Every totally or partially blind, physically disabled, or deaf person
who has a service dog, or who obtains a service dog, shall be entitled to full and equal access
to all housing accommodations provided for in this section, and shall not be required to pay
extra compensation for such service dog but shall be liable for any damage done to the premises
by such service dog.
History: 1971 c 70 s 1; 1977 c 247 s 2; 1986 c 444; 1988 c 637 s 1; 2005 c 56 s 1
343.21 Subd. 8a. Harming a service animal.
In part, "No person shall intentionally and without justification cause bodily harm to a service animal while it is providing service or while it is in the custody of the person it serves." (misdemeanor)
343.21 OVERWORKING OR MISTREATING ANIMALS; PENALTY.
Subdivision 1. Torture. No person shall overdrive, overload, torture, cruelly beat, neglect, or
unjustifiably injure, maim, mutilate, or kill any animal, or cruelly work any animal when it is unfit
for labor, whether it belongs to that person or to another person.
Subd. 2. Nourishment; shelter. No person shall deprive any animal over which the person
has charge or control of necessary food, water, or shelter.
Subd. 3. Enclosure. No person shall keep any cow or other animal in any enclosure without
providing wholesome exercise and change of air.
Subd. 4. Low feed. No person shall feed any cow on food which produces impure or
Subd. 5. Abandonment. No person shall abandon any animal.
Subd. 6. Temporary abandonment. No person shall allow any maimed, sick, infirm, or
disabled animal to lie in any street, road, or other public place for more than three hours after
receiving notice of the animal's condition.
Subd. 7. Cruelty. No person shall willfully instigate or in any way further any act of cruelty
to any animal or animals, or any act tending to produce cruelty to animals.
Subd. 8. Caging. No person shall cage any animal for public display purposes unless the
display cage is constructed of solid material on three sides to protect the caged animal from the
elements and unless the horizontal dimension of each side of the cage is at least four times the
length of the caged animal. The provisions of this subdivision do not apply to the Minnesota State
Agricultural Society, the Minnesota State Fair, or to the county agricultural societies, county
fairs, to any agricultural display of caged animals by any political subdivision of the state of
Minnesota, or to district, regional or national educational livestock or poultry exhibitions. The
provisions of this subdivision do not apply to captive wildlife, the exhibition of which is regulated
by section 97A.041.
Subd. 8a. Harming a service animal. No person shall intentionally and without justification
cause bodily harm to a service animal while it is providing service or while it is in the custody of
the person it serves.
Subd. 9. Penalty. (a) Except as otherwise provided in this subdivision, a person who fails to
comply with any provision of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor. A person convicted of a
second or subsequent violation of subdivision 1 or 7 within five years of a previous violation of
subdivision 1 or 7 is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.
(b) A person who intentionally violates subdivision 1 or 7 where the violation results in
substantial bodily harm to a pet or companion animal may be sentenced to imprisonment for not
more than one year or to payment of a fine of not more than $3,000, or both.
(c) A person convicted of violating paragraph (b) within five years of a previous gross
misdemeanor or felony conviction for violating this section may be sentenced to imprisonment
for not more than two years or to payment of a fine of not more than $5,000, or both.
(d) A person who intentionally violates subdivision 1 or 7 where the violation results in death
or great bodily harm to a pet or companion animal may be sentenced to imprisonment for not
more than two years or to payment of a fine of not more than $5,000, or both.
(e) A person who violates subdivision 8a where the violation results in substantial bodily
harm to a service animal may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than two years or to
payment of a fine of not more than $5,000, or both.
(f) A person who intentionally violates subdivision 1 or 7 where the violation results in
substantial bodily harm to a pet or companion animal, and the act is done to threaten, intimidate,
or terrorize another person, may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than two years or to
payment of a fine of not more than $5,000, or both.
(g) A person who violates subdivision 8a where the violation results in death or great bodily
harm to a service animal may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than four years or to
payment of a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.
(h) A person who intentionally violates subdivision 1 or 7 where the violation results in death
or great bodily harm to a pet or companion animal, and the act is done to threaten, intimidate, or
terrorize another person, may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than four years or to
payment of a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.
Subd. 10. Restrictions. If a person is convicted of violating this section, the court shall
require that pet or companion animals that have not been seized by a peace officer or agent and are
in the custody or control of the person must be turned over to a peace officer or other appropriate
officer or agent unless the court determines that the person is able and fit to provide adequately for
an animal. If the evidence indicates lack of proper and reasonable care of an animal, the burden
is on the person to affirmatively demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the person
is able and fit to have custody of and provide adequately for an animal. The court may limit
the person's further possession or custody of pet or companion animals, and may impose other
conditions the court considers appropriate, including, but not limited to:
(1) imposing a probation period during which the person may not have ownership, custody,
or control of a pet or companion animal;
(2) requiring periodic visits of the person by an animal control officer or agent appointed
pursuant to section 343.01, subdivision 1;
(3) requiring performance by the person of community service; and
(4) requiring the person to receive psychological, behavioral, or other counseling.
History: (10443) RL s 5152; 1959 c 571 s 1-2; 1974 c 3 s 2; 1981 c 53 s 2; 1986 c 386 art 4 s
24; 1986 c 444; 1990 c 387 s 1; 1990 c 612 s 2; 1993 c 326 art 4 s 10,11; 1Sp2001 c 8 art 8 s 9-11
363A.03 Unfair discriminatory practices
Excludes PSDs and owner trained SDs.
Subdivision 1. Terms. For the purposes of this chapter, the words defined in this section
have the meanings ascribed to them.
Subd. 2. Age. The prohibition against unfair employment or education practices based
on age prohibits using a person's age as a basis for a decision if the person is over the age of
majority except for section 363A.13 which shall be deemed to protect any individual over the
age of 25 years.
Subd. 3. Board. "Board" means the state Board of Human Rights.
Subd. 4. Business. The term "business" includes any partnership, association, corporation,
legal representative, trustee, trustee in bankruptcy, or receiver, but excludes the state and its
departments, agencies, and political subdivisions.
Subd. 5. Charging party. "Charging party" means a person filing a charge with the
commissioner or the commissioner's designated agent pursuant to section 363A.28, subdivision 1.
Subd. 6. Closed case file. "Closed case file" means a file containing human rights
investigative data in which an order or other decision resolving the alleged or suspected
discrimination has been made or issued by the commissioner, a hearing officer, or a court, and the
time for any reconsideration of or appeal from the order or decision has expired.
Subd. 7. Commissioner. "Commissioner" means the commissioner of human rights.
Subd. 8. Complainant. "Complainant" means the commissioner of human rights after
issuing a complaint pursuant to sections 363A.06, subdivision 3, paragraph (8), and 363A.28,
subdivisions 1 to 9 .
Subd. 9. Confidential, private, and public data on individuals and protected nonpublic
data not on individuals. "Confidential," "private," "public data on individuals," "protected
nonpublic data not on individuals," and any other terms concerning the availability of human
rights investigative data have the meanings given them by section 13.02 of the Minnesota
Government Data Practices Act.
Subd. 10. Demand responsive system. "Demand responsive system" means a system of
providing public transportation that is not a fixed route system.
Subd. 11. Department. "Department" means the Department of Human Rights.
Subd. 12. Disability. "Disability" means any condition or characteristic that renders a person
a disabled person. A disabled person is any person who (1) has a physical, sensory, or mental
impairment which materially limits one or more major life activities; (2) has a record of such an
impairment; or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment.
Subd. 13. Discriminate. The term "discriminate" includes segregate or separate and, for
purposes of discrimination based on sex, it includes sexual harassment.
Subd. 14. Educational institution. "Educational institution" means a public or private
institution and includes an academy, college, elementary or secondary school, extension course,
kindergarten, nursery, school system and a business, nursing, professional, secretarial, technical,
vocational school, and includes an agent of an educational institution.
Subd. 15. Employee. "Employee" means an individual who is employed by an employer and
who resides or works in this state. Employee includes a commission salesperson, as defined in
section 181.145, who resides or works in this state.
Subd. 16. Employer. "Employer" means a person who has one or more employees.
Subd. 17. Employment agency. "Employment agency" means a person or persons who,
or an agency which regularly undertakes, with or without compensation, to procure employees
or opportunities for employment.
Subd. 18. Familial status. "Familial status" means the condition of one or more minors
being domiciled with (1) their parent or parents or the minor's legal guardian or (2) the designee
of the parent or parents or guardian with the written permission of the parent or parents or
guardian. The protections afforded against discrimination on the basis of family status apply to
any person who is pregnant or is in the process of securing legal custody of an individual who
has not attained the age of majority.
Subd. 19. Fixed route system. "Fixed route system" means a system of providing public
transportation on which a vehicle is operated along a prescribed route according to a fixed
Subd. 20. Historic or antiquated rail passenger car. "Historic or antiquated rail passenger
car" means a rail passenger car:
(1) that is at least 30 years old at the time of its use for transporting individuals;
(2) the manufacturer of which is no longer in the business of manufacturing rail passenger
(3) that has consequential association with events or persons significant to the past or
embodies, or is being restored to embody, the distinctive characteristics of a type of rail passenger
car used in the past or to represent a time period that has passed.
Subd. 21. Human rights investigative data. "Human rights investigative data" means
written documents issued or gathered by the department for the purpose of investigating and
prosecuting alleged or suspected discrimination.
Subd. 22. Labor organization. "Labor organization" means any organization that exists
wholly or partly for one or more of the following purposes:
(1) collective bargaining;
(2) dealing with employers concerning grievances, terms or conditions of employment; or
(3) mutual aid or protection of employees.
Subd. 23. Local commission. "Local commission" means an agency of a city, county, or
group of counties created pursuant to law, resolution of a county board, city charter, or municipal
ordinance for the purpose of dealing with discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed,
religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, status with regard to public assistance,
sexual orientation, or familial status.
Subd. 24. Marital status. "Marital status" means whether a person is single, married,
remarried, divorced, separated, or a surviving spouse and, in employment cases, includes
protection against discrimination on the basis of the identity, situation, actions, or beliefs of a
spouse or former spouse.
Subd. 25. National origin. "National origin" means the place of birth of an individual
or of any of the individual's lineal ancestors.
Subd. 26. Open case file. "Open case file" means a file containing human rights investigative
data in which no order or other decision resolving the alleged or suspected discrimination has
been made or issued by the commissioner, a hearing officer, or a court, or a file in which an order
or other decision has been issued but the time for any reconsideration or appeal of the order or
decision has either not yet expired or the reconsideration or appeal is then pending.
Subd. 27. Operates. "Operates," when used with respect to a demand responsive or fixed
route system, includes the operation of the system by a person under a contractual or other
arrangement or relationship with a public or private entity.
Subd. 28. Over-the-road bus. "Over-the-road bus" means a bus characterized by an elevated
passenger deck located over a baggage compartment.
Subd. 29. Party in interest. "Party in interest" means the complainant, respondent,
commissioner or board member.
Subd. 30. Person. "Person" includes partnership, association, corporation, legal
representative, trustee, trustee in bankruptcy, receiver, and the state and its departments, agencies,
and political subdivisions.
Subd. 31. Physical access. "Physical access" means (1) the absence of physical obstacles
that limit a disabled person's opportunity for full and equal use of or benefit from goods, services,
and privileges; or, when necessary, (2) the use of methods to overcome the discriminatory effect
of physical obstacles. The methods may include redesign of equipment, assignment of aides, or
use of alternate accessible locations.
Subd. 32. Private entity. "Private entity" means an entity other than a public service.
Subd. 33. Program access. "Program access" means (1) the use of auxiliary aids or services
to ensure full and equal use of or benefit from goods, services, and privileges; and (2) the absence
of criteria or methods of administration that directly, indirectly, or through contractual or other
arrangements, have the effect of subjecting qualified disabled persons to discrimination on
the basis of disability, or have the effect of defeating or impairing the accomplishment of the
objectives of the program.
Subd. 34. Place of public accommodation. "Place of public accommodation" means a
business, accommodation, refreshment, entertainment, recreation, or transportation facility of
any kind, whether licensed or not, whose goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or
accommodations are extended, offered, sold, or otherwise made available to the public.
Subd. 35. Public service. "Public service" means any public facility, department, agency,
board or commission, owned, operated or managed by or on behalf of the state of Minnesota, or
any subdivision thereof, including any county, city, town, township, or independent district in
Subd. 36. Qualified disabled person. "Qualified disabled person" means:
(1) with respect to employment, a disabled person who, with reasonable accommodation, can
perform the essential functions required of all applicants for the job in question; and
(2) with respect to public services, a person with a disability who, with or without reasonable
modifications to rules, policies, or practices, removal of architectural, communications, or
transportation barriers, or the provision of auxiliary aids and services, meets the essential
eligibility requirements for receipt of services and for participation in programs and activities
provided by the public service.
For the purposes of this subdivision, "disability" excludes any condition resulting from
alcohol or drug abuse which prevents a person from performing the essential functions of the job
in question or constitutes a direct threat to property or the safety of others.
If a respondent contends that the person is not a qualified disabled person, the burden is on
the respondent to prove that it was reasonable to conclude the disabled person, with reasonable
accommodation, could not have met the requirements of the job or that the selected person was
demonstrably better able to perform the job.
Subd. 37. Rail passenger car. "Rail passenger car" means, with respect to intercity or
commuter rail transportation, single- and bi-level coach cars, dining cars, sleeping cars, lounge
cars, restroom cars, and food service cars.
Subd. 38. Real estate broker or salesperson. "Real estate broker or salesperson" means,
respectively, a real estate broker as defined by section 82.17, subdivision 18, and a real estate
salesperson as defined by section 82.17, subdivision 19.
Subd. 39. Real property. "Real property" includes real estate, lands, tenements, and
hereditaments, corporeal and incorporeal.
Subd. 40. Religious or denominational educational institution. "Religious or
denominational educational institution" means an educational institution which is operated,
supervised, controlled or sustained primarily by a religious or denominational organization,
or one which is stated by the parent church body to be and is, in fact, officially related to that
church by being represented on the board of the institution, and by providing substantial financial
assistance and which has certified, in writing, to the board that it is a religious or denominational
Subd. 41. Respondent. "Respondent" means a person against whom a complaint has been
filed or issued.
Subd. 42. Sex. "Sex" includes, but is not limited to, pregnancy, childbirth, and disabilities
related to pregnancy or childbirth.
Subd. 43. Sexual harassment. "Sexual harassment" includes unwelcome sexual advances,
requests for sexual favors, sexually motivated physical contact or other verbal or physical conduct
or communication of a sexual nature when:
(1) submission to that conduct or communication is made a term or condition, either
explicitly or implicitly, of obtaining employment, public accommodations or public services,
education, or housing;
(2) submission to or rejection of that conduct or communication by an individual is used as
a factor in decisions affecting that individual's employment, public accommodations or public
services, education, or housing; or
(3) that conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with
an individual's employment, public accommodations or public services, education, or housing,
or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment, public accommodations, public
services, educational, or housing environment.
Subd. 44. Sexual orientation. "Sexual orientation" means having or being perceived as
having an emotional, physical, or sexual attachment to another person without regard to the sex of
that person or having or being perceived as having an orientation for such attachment, or having
or being perceived as having a self-image or identity not traditionally associated with one's
biological maleness or femaleness. "Sexual orientation" does not include a physical or sexual
attachment to children by an adult.
Subd. 45. Specified public transportation. "Specified public transportation" means
transportation by bus, rail, or any other conveyance other than aircraft that provides the general
public with general or special service, including charter service, on a regular and continuing basis.
Subd. 46. Station. "Station" means property located next to a right-of-way on which
intercity and commuter transportation is operated, which is used by the general public and is
related to the provision of the transportation, including passenger platforms, designated waiting
areas, ticketing areas, restrooms, drinking fountains, public telephones, and, if a public service
providing rail transportation owns the property, concessions areas to the extent that the public
service exercises control over the selection, design, construction, or alteration of the property.
Station does not include flag stops.
Subd. 47. Status with regard to public assistance. "Status with regard to public assistance"
means the condition of being a recipient of federal, state, or local assistance, including medical
assistance, or of being a tenant receiving federal, state, or local subsidies, including rental
assistance or rent supplements.
Subd. 48. Unfair discriminatory practice. "Unfair discriminatory practice" means any act
described in sections 363A.08 to 363A.19 and 363A.28, subdivision 10.
Subd. 49. Vehicle. "Vehicle" does not include a rail passenger car, railroad locomotive,
railroad freight car, railroad caboose, or railroad car.
History: 1955 c 516 s 3; 1961 c 428 s 1-3; 1967 c 897 s 1-9; 1969 c 975 s 1,2; 1973 c 123
art 5 s 7; 1973 c 729 s 1; 1976 c 2 s 130; 1977 c 351 s 1; 1977 c 408 s 1; 1980 c 531 s 1,2; 1982 c
492 s 1; 1982 c 619 s 2,3; 1983 c 276 s 1-4; 1Sp1985 c 13 s 320-324; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 23 s 1;
1987 c 282 s 2; 1988 c 660 s 1; 1989 c 144 art 2 s 8; 1989 c 280 s 1-3; 1989 c 329 art 9 s 26;
1989 c 335 art 1 s 243; 1989 c 356 s 18; 1990 c 567 s 1,10; 1992 c 527 s 1-10; 1993 c 22 s 1,2;
1993 c 277 s 1-4; 1994 c 465 art 3 s 20; 2001 c 194 s 1; 2004 c 203 art 2 s 61
Helping Paws Plain English Law Info
There are two PDF format documents. The first, Service Dog Fcts, gives a summary of the laws ans how they apply in Minnesota. The second, Service Dog Laws, gives the actual text of the laws.
Interesting discussion of the reasoning behind 343.21
Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission Meeting Minutes, July 10, 2001 (Could not copy...in PDF)