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Court Filing and Discrimination Charge Filing Deadlines Suspended During COVID 19 Pandemic

By fiebigerste51715443, Apr 23 2020 03:44AM

On April 15, 2020, Governor Walz signed into law HF 4556 suspending all civil court filing deadlines, statutes of limitations, and other time periods prescribed by law in the district and appellate courts. The limitations are suspended until 60 days after the end of the peacetime emergency from the COVID 19 pandemic.

Today, April 22, Governor Tim Walz issued Executive Order 20-39 that protects and preserves the legal rights of individuals under the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) to pursue claims of discrimination that may be affected by the COVID 19 pandemic. To ensure that the Minnesota Department of Human Rights can meet the ongoing needs presented, and to protect the health, safety, and well-being of Minnesotans who have experienced discrimination, the Governor’s Executive Order tolls the deadlines to file a verified charge of discrimination and modifies filing requirements during the peacetime emergency as follows:

1. In any instance where the one-year statute of limitation to file a charge of discrimination under the MHRA, Minnesota Statutes Section 363A.28, subd. 3(a) during the peacetime emergency, the charge will be considered timely if it is filed with the Commissioner of Human Rights within 60 calendar days after the termination of the peacetime emergency, or February 15, 2021, whichever is earlier.

2. After March 13, 2020, the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) is authorized and directed to:

a. Accept as a “verified charge,” as provided in Minnesota Statute Section 363A.28, subd. 1, and Minnesota Rules 5000.0050, subpart 12, a charge of discrimination that is signed, by hand or electronically, with an unsworn declaration under penalty of perjury.

b. Serve charges, determinations, and dismissal orders electronically, rather than by first class or certified mail, if the receiving party agrees to receive such information electronically, and provides the Department of Human Rights with an email address for receipt.

c. Extend from 20 days to 60 days the requirement for respondents to submit an answer to a verified charge of discrimination, except when an inquiry is required under Minnesota Statutes Section 363A.28, subdivision 6(a) and (b), as imposed by Minnesota Statute Section 363A.28, subdivision 1, and Minnesota Rules 5000.0500, subpart 1.

d. Extend from 10 days to 30 days the time for parties to submit a request for reconsideration of a determination from the date it is received as imposed by Minnesota Statutes Section 363A.28, subdivision 6 (c) and Minnesota Rules 5000.0700, subpart 1.

The Executive Order allows individuals to preserve their claims of discrimination that may otherwise lapse during the COVID 19 peacetime emergency and remains in effect until the peacetime emergency is terminated or until it is rescinded by proper authority. Stay tuned.

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