A popular Minnesota-based restaurant chain known throughout the nation for its chicken wings, signature sauces and sports bar atmosphere was recently named in a federal lawsuit filed by two former servers who allege that they were victimized by unacceptable and illegal workplace discrimination.
In May, Governor Dayton signed into law a bill that extends Minnesota’s “Ban the Box” law to private employers. “Ban the Box” was first passed in 2009 but only applied to public employers, but it will now require private employers to eliminate check-boxes about criminal convictions from job applications by the end of the year.
When people suspect discrimination in the workplace, one of the things they worry most about is what will happen to them if they file a complaint. Both Minnesota and federal anti-discrimination laws prohibit employer retaliation when employees stand up for their rights. Nonetheless, many people fear that their employers will take some revenge anyway, especially if their claims fail.
For physicians, achieving a board certification in their medical specialty often isn’t the result of additional training undertaken to bring prestige to their practices. In many areas, board certification is either required to practice at all, or in order to achieve affordable malpractice insurance. For dermatologists, apparently, certification is the final exam, so to speak, just as bar membership is for practicing attorneys. When dermatologists fail the certification exam -- or are later expelled by the board -- they must repeat their medical residencies, according to a recent federal lawsuit.
What could Minnesota’s own Target have been thinking? According to a race discrimination lawsuit filed by three former employees who worked at a California Target warehouse, their managers were virtually all Caucasians who routinely used racial slurs against Hispanics and otherwise discriminated against people of Latino origin. The three Hispanic men claim they were fired in retaliation for making a complaint to human resources.
A retailer called Dollar General and BMW have been accused of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. BMW has been accused of automatically excluding prospective employees allegedly convicted of a crime. The company has also been accused of not taking into consideration the nature of the supposed crimes.
Last July, we discussed a class action lawsuit brought against the clothing chain Wet Seal and its parent company Arden B. because of alleged discrimination against African-American managers and sales staff because they didn't fit the "brand image." For example, one woman was told she had fired been replaced by a white employee after a visiting store executive apparently expressed that the company's brand image would be better served if the store's more visible employees were people "with blonde hair and blue eyes."
A group of African-American agents claims it can prove that between 1995 and 2005, the U.S. Secret Service engaged in race discrimination -- knowingly or unknowingly -- by using a candidate evaluation program that tended to limit the promotion of African Americans. Eight current and former agents have filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, which was responsible for the program, and this week a federal judge approved their request to certify the lawsuit as a class action.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has long held that blanket hiring policies that keep out people with criminal records can easily be used as a pretext for race discrimination. If they're not carefully tailored to meet a legitimate business need, the effect of such policies is to penalize members of minority groups who are caught up in the judicial system far more often -- but for no more reason -- than whites.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced a race discrimination settlement with Alliant Techsystems, Inc., a multibillion-dollar defense and aerospace company founded in Minneapolis. The company, which is commonly known as ATK, has agreed to pay $100,000 to a woman the EEOC believes was not hired because of her race.