Marcia Hultman

Cabinet Secretary

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Division of Human Rights


Charges of discrimination are civil (not criminal) matters. This means violations of the law cannot be punished by prison sentences. For example, under South Dakota law, if an employer is found to be in violation, the charging party is entitled to "equitable" or "make-whole" relief. This type of relief could include paying lost back wages, obeying cease-and-desist actions, undergoing specific training or implementing policy changes.

Violations of federal laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, bring stiffer penalties. It is possible the guilty party may have to pay both compensatory damages (payments to make things as if the discrimination had never happened) and punitive damages (payments as punishment).


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.