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Court Cases in the News

A state-by-state review of court cases pertaining to workplace rights.

Select your state from the map below or from this list. (If your state does not have any court cases, then the page will not scroll down when you click on the state.)


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Minnesota

Lawsuit: Company fired man for not handing over medical records

Source: Julie Wernau, The Chicago Tribune
Date: September 9, 2014

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed suit on behalf of a Minneapolis man who says his employer asked him to disclose all of his private medical information as part of his office job and then fired him when he refused to hand it over.

White Way Settles Pregnancy Bias Case

Source: Julie Forster, Twin Cities Pioneer Press
Date: March 17, 2010

St. Paul-based White Way Cleaners has agreed to pay a former employee $42,250 to settle a discrimination lawsuit that alleged the dry cleaner fired the woman because of her pregnancy, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Tuesday.

Wal-Mart Settles Charges of Anti-Union Activity at Hastings Store

Source: Scott Carlson , Finance and Commerce
Date: January 8, 2010

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has settled charges lodged by a St. Paul-area union last summer that the giant discounter threatened to fire a worker at its Hastings store over his union activity.

Big Arbitration Firm Pulls Out of Credit Card Business

Source: Robert Berner, Business Week
Date: July 22, 2009

After coming under increasing fire for bias towards major credit-card companies, the nation's largest arbitration firm involved in adjudicating delinquent credit-card debt has agreed to pull out of the business, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson disclosed on Sunday, July 19.

Starbucks Settles Complaint by Labor Organizers

Source: Julie Forster, Pioneer Press
Date: June 2, 2009

Starbucks Co. has agreed to settle a complaint from the National Labor Relations Board that it violated workers' rights.

8 female cleaning workers file suit, allege harassment

Source: David Hawley, Pioneer Press
Date: May 16, 2006

Eight women who clean commercial buildings in the Twin Cities [Minnesota] have filed a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment by their supervisors and are seeking class-action status that could expand the plaintiff group to hundreds of employees. The federal lawsuit names American Building Maintenance Industries, one of the largest maintenance-service contractors in the United States with some 75,000 employees. The women worked in cleaning jobs at dozens of Twin Cities locations. All allege they were harassed by their immediate supervisors, who demanded sex, fondled them and, in one case, coerced a worker into having sex.

Robinson may settle lawsuit for $15M

Source: Julie Forster, Pioneer Press
Date: April 13, 2006

C.H. Robinson Worldwide, a transportation and logistics company, has reached a tentative settlement with former and current women employees over allegations of gender discrimination in pay and promotion. The $15 million proposed settlement resolves the class-action claims for all damages, costs and attorneys' fees, the company disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Wednesday. The company said it admits no liability and that the settlement would be covered by insurance. The lawsuit alleged that the company was rife with sexual discrimination and that women were subject to a hostile work environment. The lawsuit also charged gender discrimination in pay and promotion.

61 ex-workers sue Guidant, claiming age discrimination

Source: Jeff Swiatek, Indianapolis Star
Date: March 2, 2006

Embattled Guidant Corp. faces another lawsuit, this one by 61 of its former employees who are charging the medical device maker with age discrimination. The ex-employees, who were among 721 workers laid off by Guidant in 2004, sued as a group Wednesday in federal court in Minneapolis. Most are from Minnesota and California. They allege Guidant cut them loose under a mass layoff aimed at reducing the number of its older and typically higher-paid employees. The lawsuit, which asks for damages of at least $75,000 per plaintiff, is the latest in Guidant's legal woes.

Mac settles in suit on discrimination

Source: Matt Stone, Macalester Weekly
Date: February 3, 2006

When Nat Longley accepted an offer to teach at Macalester [College] in 1999, he looked forward to taking advantage of what he described as the school's wealth of opportunities for a physicist. Today, he finds himself on the winning side of a $125,000 settlement with the college, but without a job. The settlement comes after Longley complained to the that the college had discriminated against him during the hiring process for a tenure-track position in the physics department. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, this constitutes an act of retaliation because Macalester refused to renew a contract of an employee who complained about discrimination.

Northshore will pay $1.3 million

Source: Mark Stodghill, Duluth News Tribune
Date: October 7, 2005

Northshore Mining has agreed to pay $1.3 million to settle a gender discrimination class-action lawsuit brought by present and former women employees. Holly Mathers, Sue Gundy, Rose Seelen and Dianne Thiel filed the lawsuit in December 1999. [A] U.S. District Judge certified it as class action in September 2003 to include 38 other current and former women employees of the mining company. Northshore has also agreed to appoint an anti-discrimination officer and to modify certain policies and practices related to promotions, training and job assignments to ensure that female employees are treated equitably.

IBM age-bias suit reinstated

Source: Shannon Prather, St. Paul Pioneer Press
Date: May 4, 2005

A federal appeals court resuscitated an age-discrimination suit against IBM, faulting the company for using confusing language in a termination agreement with a Rochester, Minn., employee and then refusing to answer his questions. A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled IBM can't prevent an engineer who had logged three decades with the company from suing for age discrimination after it refused to clarify terms and conditions he said he did not understand. The three-judge panel ruled that IBM violated the Older Workers Benefits Protection Act. The act outlines protections to ensure that a worker knowingly and voluntarily waives any federal age-discrimination claims. [The] case was remanded to U.S. District Court.

3M accused of age bias

Source: H.J. Cummins, Star Tribune
Date: December 22, 2004

One current and one former 3M employee have accused the company of age discrimination in a lawsuit filed Tuesday, the second case of its kind to be filed against a major Twin Cities firm in the past two months. The suit contends that the Maplewood-based manufacturer stereotypes and sidelines older workers. That type of allegation is more common to race- and gender-discrimination cases but may be a sign of lawsuits to come as America's workforce ages, some employment attorneys believe. The suit against 3M seeks class-action status. That could potentially extend its effects to 15,000 current and former employees, attorneys estimated.

Best buy hit with lawsuit over layoffs of IT workers

Source: Carol Sliwa, Computerworld
Date: November 22, 2004

Richard Walstrom said that he sensed something was wrong during a job fair in May, when he saw some of his IT co-workers who had also recently been told by Best Buy Co. that they were losing their jobs. Walstrom [is] one of 44 former Best Buy IT workers who filed a class-action lawsuit last Wednesday claiming that the Richfield, Minn.-based electronics retailer engaged in a pattern of age discrimination in terminating their jobs. The plaintiffs range from 40 to 71 years old. The charges relate to layoffs that were announced in April, when Best Buy said it planned to outsource its IT operations to Accenture Ltd.

Former employees allege age discrimination against Best Buy

Source: Julie Forster, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Duluth News Tribune
Date: November 18, 2004

Former Best Buy information-technology workers terminated during a restructuring this year claim in a lawsuit filed Wednesday that they lost their jobs because the consumer electronics giant thought they were too old. The suit, filed in federal court in Minneapolis, alleges that the Richfield, Minn.-based retailer violated anti-discrimination laws when it terminated 150 people in October 2003 and June 2004. Sixty-eight percent of those who lost their jobs were older than 40. The lawsuit seeks class-action status on behalf of all workers older than 40 who lost their Best Buy jobs.

Robinson opposes unified sex-bias lawsuit

Source: Julie Forster, Pioneer Press
Date: November 12, 2004

Lawyers for women suing trucking and transport firm C.H. Robinson Worldwide for sexual harassment and discrimination are scheduled to argue in a St. Paul federal courtroom today that the case should be given class-action status. The plaintiffs claim they were not paid as well or promoted to supervisory jobs as often as men, even though they were equally qualified. If they succeed, as many as 2,000 current and former sales, operation and support workers would be able to sue the Eden Prairie-based company.

Evangelist prevails in job bias suit

Source: Marie McCain, Pioneer Press
Date: October 20, 2004

The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld a lower court's decision to dismiss an employment discrimination lawsuit against the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association for firing a 31-year employee after learning she was a lesbian. The case pits religious freedom against the employment rights of homosexuals and tests the boundaries of Minnesota's Human Rights Act, [which]was one of the first in the country to include sexual orientation, in addition to race, gender, disability, age and religion as conditions that should not be discriminated against in public and private employment. However, an exemption clause allows nonprofit religious organizations and youth organizations to refuse to hire someone because he or she is gay.

Minnesota women win round in pension case

Source: Associated Press, Star Tribune, Duluth News Tribune
Date: September 8, 2004

Back in the 1950s and early 1960s, it was legal to dismiss women for being married or pregnant--but it may not be legal to dock their pensions as a result, according to the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Tuesday's ruling allows Noreen Maki and other retirees who claim their pensions are being penalized to proceed with a lawsuit against Minnesota Power in Duluth. The women are part of a generation who hid their marriages from employers in order to keep their jobs. They are arguing that any penalty to their pensions because of interruptions to their careers is sex discrimination.

Ex-worker accuses St. Paul eatery of discrimination

Source: Paul Gustafson, Star Tribune [Minnesota]
Date: June 17, 2004

A popular Mexican-American market and restaurant on St. Paul's West Side is being sued by a former employee who says she was discriminated against because she is Puerto Rican. Yolanda Rivera alleges that her job as the deli-bakery supervisor at El Burrito Mercado was eliminated in July 2003 and that a Mexican woman was hired to perform the same duties under a different job title. Rivera also alleges that she lost her job because she gave testimony supporting her father's claim of job discrimination at the restaurant. The lawsuit, which was moved last week from Ramsey County to U.S. District Court, seeks damages in excess of $50,000.

Lawsuit says local Coke bottler discriminates

Source: Chris Nisan, Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
Date: May 19, 2004

"I'm hoping that once the information gets out about how Coca-Cola is discriminating, they will have to open the doors to more Black women," said Glenda Robertson, explaining one of the reasons she is pursuing a racial and gender discrimination lawsuit against Coca-Cola Enterprises. "Any settlement has to have Coca-Cola admitting that they have been guilty of discrimination and implementing a serious affirmative action program to hire, train, and promote women minorities," said Robertson.

Union Trying to Block Federal Takeover of EVTAC Pensions

Source: Associated Press, Miami Herald
Date: October 23, 2003

The United Steelworkers of America wants to keep the federal government from assuming the pension plans of workers laid off by the shuttered EVTAC Mining Co., saying the takeover would affect benefits to workers. The union wants to join litigation under which the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. would take control of the Thunderbird Mining Co. pension plan. Thunderbird Mining administers the pension plan for bankrupt EVTAC Mining. Steelworker attorneys contend the PBGC - a federal agency charged with assuming the pension plans of failed companies - didn't need to terminate the pension plan and acted too early in setting a July 24, 2003, takeover.

Discrimination Lawsuit Filed Against University of Minnesota-Duluth

Source: Erin Jordan, KDLH (MN)
Date: October 17, 2003

Dr. Arun Goyal was an associate professor in University of Minnesota-Duluth's Biology Department for five years when his application for promotion and tenure was turned down. He says he had the qualifications for the job. "So I said look at the record. Don't believe me. Believe the record which is created by the university system," said Dr. Goyal. In a complaint filed in the United States District Court, Dr. Goyal says he was denied tenure "on account of his race." "They had a pattern of having the people of color, even if they are hired, they are one of the best in the pool, they were somehow forced out of the dept."

St. Cloud Dean Who Was Part of Discrimination Suit Claims Discrimination

Source: Robert Franklin, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Date: October 15, 2003

A dean at St. Cloud State University who was a defendant in a discrimination lawsuit has been reassigned in a move that he claims is discriminatory. Richard Lewis, 66, has been discriminated against because of his age and intends to pursue his claim through the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, his lawyer said. The university said in a statement that Lewis, formerly dean of the College of Social Sciences, will coordinate special projects for Michael Spitzer, provost and vice president for academic affairs, then will return to teach in the History Department next spring.

Freezer Maker Settles Complaint by Muslims

Source: Associated Press, New York Times
Date: September 26, 2003

A Minnesota freezer manufacturer has settled a complaint alleging it failed to allow prayer times for its Muslim employees. The Somali Community Center in Minneapolis had filed the complaint on behalf of 165 workers at Electrolux Home Products in St. Cloud, Minn. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced the settlement Wednesday, calling it a "major religious accommodation case.''

Electrolux Works Out Prayer Breaks

Source: Julie Forster, Pioneer Press
Date: September 24, 2003

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has reached a settlement with the Electrolux Group over a charge that the company's Muslim employees were being disciplined for taking prayer breaks. The EEOC announced the settlement Wednesday. The case was initiated about a year ago when the Somali Community Center in Minneapolis filed a discrimination charge on behalf of 165 Somali workers who worked on the assembly line at the Electrolux Home Products plant in St. Cloud. The workers claimed they were discriminated against because of their religious beliefs, said the EEOC. Under the tenets of the Islamic faith, Muslims must offer at least five daily prayers. The sunset prayer must be observed within 90 minutes of the sunset.

Two Pioneer Press Reporters Allege Sex Discrimination

Source: Paul Gustafson, Star Tribune
Date: August 22, 2003

Two female sports reporters at the St. Paul Pioneer Press have filed complaints with the St. Paul Human Rights Department and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that they are the victims of sexual discrimination by their editors. Cara LaBrie and Robbi Pickeral, the only female sports reporters at the newspaper, allege in separate complaints filed Wednesday that they have endured harsher work rules and conditions than male colleagues.

Supervalu Settles Suits Over Age Bias, Rainbow prices

Source: Janet Moore, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Date: July 11, 2003

Supervalu Inc. on Thursday said costs associated with settling two high-profile lawsuits were part of the reason the company reported a slight decline in first-quarter earnings. The Eden Prairie-based food wholesaler, retailer and parent of Cub Foods said general corporate expenses included about $5 million, about 2.5 cents a share, to settle the lawsuits. One complaint charged Supervalu with age discrimination, and another was filed by the company against rival Rainbow Foods. Both suits were followed in the local media; the Rainbow suit was settled in March. In the age-discrimination suit, seven former employees, all but one over the age of 50, alleged that Supervalu tried to weed out older employees. Supervalu denied the claims.




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