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Our Programs Local Firms Contribute Nearly $200,000 Toward the Advancement of Women in the Workplace

Advertisement: Workplace Fairness

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:
William O'Brien, Miller-O'Brien, PLLP (612) 333-5831; bobrien@miller-obrien.com
Mara R. Thompson, Sprenger + Lang, PLLC (612) 486-1820; mthompson@sprengerlang.com
Ed Magarian, Dorsey & Whitney, LLP (612) 340-7873; magarian.edward@dorsey.com

LOCAL FIRMS CONTRIBUTE NEARLY $200,000 TOWARD
THE ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE

3 Minnesota charities benefit from gender discrimination settlement fund

Minneapolis, Minn. (August 27, 2007) -- The unclaimed portion of a gender discrimination settlement fund totaling $191,000 is being donated to three non-profit organizations benefiting women. The nonprofits include:

  • Women Venture, a local St Paul program focused on jobs and business ventures for women;
  • Workplace Fairness, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to informing and educating workers and their advocates nationwide and to promoting public policies that advance employee rights; and
  • Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis, a branch of Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance.

The 2002 class action gender discrimination lawsuit [Kosen v. American Express Financial Advisors, Inc., IDS Financial Services, Inc., IDS Life Insurance] alleged that male advisors received preferential treatment over female financial advisors.

Miller-O'Brien, LLP and Sprenger + Lang, PLLC, counsel for the plaintiffs in the class action, along with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., formerly known as American Express Financial Advisors, Inc., jointly announced that the donation to the Minnesota charities represents the unclaimed portion of a Business Development Fund created under the class action settlement.

"One of the primary goals in the case was to further the employment opportunities for women. Donations to these charities further those goals," said Mara Thompson of Sprenger & Lang, one of plaintiffs' counsel. The parties jointly chose the three Minnesota nonprofits because each could provide assistance to women.

Cathy Ventrell-Monsees, president of Workplace Fairness, which provides women with information and tools to challenge barriers to advancement, said her organization is honored to be part of the resolution of this historic case. "With the residual funds, we will be able to help thousands of women to understand, protect and strengthen their rights, which will hopefully prevent future discrimination in the workplace," she said.

Ten Wells, president of WomenVenture, another recipient, said the settlement donation will go directly to its programs. "We are delighted with the contribution because it will help women find their passion and motivate them to find jobs that fulfill their passion and their pocketbooks," she said.

"Promoting employment opportunities for women is important to our community and our economy. Ameriprise Financial is proud to be associated with a donation to nonprofits that serves the needs women, and by extension, the larger community," said Ed Magarian of Dorsey & Whitney, counsel for Ameriprise Financial.

Of the total settlement of the class action gender discrimination lawsuit on behalf of women financial advisors, a portion was set aside as a Business Development Fund to benefit female financial advisors. The $191,000 being donated is the unclaimed portion of the Business Development Fund.

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For further information about the beneficiaries of the settlement, contact:

Women Venture Ten Wells. President
651-646-3808 or Toll-Free 866-646-3808; www.WomenVenture.org

Workplace Fairness  Cathy Ventrell-Monsees, President
301-654-5316; www.workplacefairness.org

Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis - Jeremy Lane, Executive Director of Mid Minnesota Legal Assistance
612-332-1441; www.midmnlegal.org