Marcia Hultman

Cabinet Secretary

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Division of Human Rights


The word "discrimination" is used in many different ways to describe many different situations. For example, a concert promoter may reserve a block of seats in case VIPs show up, yet refuse to sell those seats to the public. We may claim "That is unfair!" or "That is discrimination!" A dictionary definition might also indicate the action was a form of discrimination.

However, not all discrimination is prohibited by law. Unlawful is not the same as merely unfair, unjust, unkind or unusual. The concert promoter has broken no law in reserving seats for certain individuals.

Unlawful discrimination has a much more narrow meaning. To be covered under South Dakota law, the reason for the unfair or unjust action must be related (at least in part) to an individual's race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry or disability.

Examples of unlawful discrimination would be an employer who, based on race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry or disability:

  • Refuses to hire a person
  • Discharges or lays off an employee
  • Harasses or treats persons differently in the terms and conditions of employment

South Dakota law does not cover age discrimination, but this is prohibited under federal law.

Types of Discrimination & Coverage by Law






Job Interviews


Public Accommodations




The information provided on this website should in no way be considered legal advice. For specific information about your legal rights, you should consult your personal attorney. If you have a general question, contact us.