On July 1, 2021, the following revisions and updates were implemented to Minnesota law governing workforce and equal pay certificates, which are required for state contractors:
- Consistent with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights’ (MDHR) historical interpretation, the statutory language was modified to clearly reflect that out-of-state companies (with 40+ employees) are required to obtain a workforce certificate to enter into a contract for goods or services in excess of $100,000 with departments or agencies of the State of Minnesota or with certain metropolitan agencies. Act of June 30, 2021, ch. 11, art. 3, § 18 (to be codified at Stat. § 363A.36, subd. 1).
- The MDHR now has the authority to issue fines to state contractors that do not make a good faith effort to implement their affirmative action plans or comply with Title VII, the Equal Pay Act, the Minnesota Human Rights Act, or the Minnesota Equal Pay for Equal Work Law. The MDHR may fine noncompliant contractors up to $5,000 per calendar year for each contract they hold. It may also suspend or revoke a contractor’s workforce or equal pay certificate until the contractor has paid all fines and implements its affirmative action plan or complies with the relevant laws. Act of June 30, 2021, ch. 11, art. 3, §§ 20, 24 (to be codified at Stat. § 363A.36, subd. 3; Minn. Stat. § 363A.44, subd. 4).
- At long last, the recent amendments address access to workforce certificate data, and updates were provided to address new categories of equal pay certificate data. Act of June 30, 2021, ch. 11, art. 3, §§ 22, 25 (to be codified at Stat. § 363A.36, subd. 6; Minn. Stat. § 363A.44, subd. 9).
- Mirroring the treatment of equal pay certificate data, data submitted by private employers to MDHR related to a workforce certificate is classified as “private data on individuals” or “nonpublic data.” The MDHR’s decision to issue, not issue, suspend, revoke, or otherwise penalize a contractor with a workforce or equal pay certificate is public data, however.
- The new provisions also specifically carve out that (1) the MDHR may disclose data classified as private or nonpublic to other state agencies and local governments for purposes of achieving compliance and (2) applications, forms or similar documents submitted by a business seeking a certificate of compliance are public data.
- Renewal and application fees were increased from $150 to $250 for both workforce and equal pay certificates. Act of June 30, 2021, ch. 11, art. 3, §§ 19, 23 (to be codified at Stat. § 363A.36, subd. 2; Minn. Stat. § 363A.44, subd. 2).
If you have questions about Minnesota workforce and equal pay certificate requirements, please do not hesitate to contact us.