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Minnesota Senate facing hearing over gender discrimination claim

Love is in the air at the Minnesota Senate. Or at least it was, and the aftermath may now become the subject of a public hearing, according to a recent invoice for legal costs in defending against the associated gender discrimination claim.

Several months ago, former GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch resigned after several of colleagues at the Minnesota State Senate confronted her about an affair she had been having with a senior staffer. The senior staffer was dismissed shortly after Koch's resignation.

The staffer filed a gender discrimination complaint against the Minnesota Senate with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), alleging he was wrongly fired from his position and was treated differently from other workers who have had similar relationships with state lawmakers.

According to an invoice released last week, the Senate's legal costs in defending against the EEOC complaint are only a few thousand dollars short of $50,000. If the costs exceed that threshold, they may trigger a public hearing by the Senate Rules and Administration Committee. That is a very real fear, as the staffer is reported to be considering a federal gender discrimination suit against the Minnesota Senate and several individual senators and officials.

If you believe your employer has treated you differently than another employee based solely on your gender, rather than job requirements or work performance, you should consult with an attorney about whether you are a victim of illegal gender discrimination. An attorney can help you gather the evidence you need to prove your claim, hopefully before any adverse action is taken against you. In this way, you will be better situated to file a complaint with the EEOC at the most advantageous time. Even if you have already been terminated, however, an attorney can help advise you on your available options.

Source: Pioneer Press, "At the Capitol: State's costs in possible Brodkorb suit mount," Martiga Lohn, May 25, 2012

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