When an individual chooses to pursue an employment discrimination case, there are different theories of discrimination that can be alleged, depending on the facts of the case. In our last post, we looked at one common theory of discrimination: disparate treatment. As we noted, disparate treatment may be proven by either direct or circumstantial evidence, as the evidence allows.
Previously, we looked briefly at an ongoing discrimination case against UMD involving several former coaches of female athletics. As we noted last time, the university wants the lawsuit thrown out based on undisputed law and facts, though the coaches have a different account of what occurred than the university.
Three former University of Minnesota Duluth sports coaches, all female, are suing the university for a total of $18 million for illegally discriminating against them. The former coaches filed the suit back in 2015, accusing the university of discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation and national origin.
In any employment discrimination case, it is critical for an employee who has been subjected to adverse employment action to work carefully with an experienced attorney to fully establish each element of the discrimination claim, whether the claim falls under state or federal law.
Previously, we began looking at the importance of working with an experienced attorney to build the strongest possible discrimination case. As we noted last time, one of the challenges many discrimination plaintiffs face is making a strong case for illegal discrimination. This is true both of cases involving discriminatory intent, as well as cases involving disparate impact.
Previously, we began looking at when an individual may file a discrimination claim against an employer. As we noted, individuals are not required to file a discrimination complaint through Minnesota Department of Human Rights before filing a discrimination claim under Minnesota law, but they are required to file a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission before filing a discrimination claim under federal law.
When an employee suspects that he or she has been subjected to illegal discrimination on the job, particularly if the discrimination has significant economic consequences for the employee, it is important to understand what options are available in terms of seeking justice. Because there are protections against illegal discrimination under both state and federal law, as well as government agencies that handle discrimination complaints, employees have options.
Previously, we said that employees who believe they may have experienced racial discrimination on the job need to understand not only how to report violations internally, within their company, but also how to report violations to state and federal authorities. As we noted, the EEOC is responsible for handling complaints of employment discrimination at the federal level, while the Minnesota Department of Human Rights handles complaints at the state level.
Last month, Minnesota mattress manufacturer Sealy reportedly settled a case with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission involving allegations of racial harassment. According to the agency, some of the company’s employees had been engaging in seriously, racially-hostile behaviors, which included racial jokes and slurs and racially motivated actions that easily could have been perceived as threatening.
At the federal and state level, there are a variety of laws meant to protect vulnerable classes of people from discrimination in employment. As good as these laws can do for those vulnerable to employment discrimination, they don’t do much good if they aren’t being enforced. And, according to a recent state audit, too often they are not enforced.