In Minnesota, both state and federal laws prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of sex or gender. Those laws typically require employers to treat male and female employees equally in matters such as hiring, compensation, layoffs, promotions, job training, and working conditions. Significantly, those protections may also extend to prospective job applicants, as today's story illustrates.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs recently announced it had reached a $295,000 settlement in a hiring discrimination case involving Lund Boat Co., a Minnesota boat manufacturing plant based in New York Mills. In addition to the payment, the settlement requires Lund to extend job offers to at least 27 women as general laborer positions become open.
The lawsuit, brought by the federal agency against both the manufacturing plant and its parent company, Brunswick Corp., alleged that female job applicants were rejected for entry-level jobs at the Minnesota facility pursuant to a systematic pattern of gender discrimination.
During all phases of employment, the policies and practices used by Minnesota's employers should be equal between men and women. An employer cannot make employment decisions based on gender stereotypes and other assumptions about men and women. By following applicable employment laws, Minnesota employers will benefit from having a diverse workforce and the accompanying breadth of talent that is present when ability, rather than stereotypes, is the guiding principle.
In this case, the boat manufacturer may have been making assumptions about whether the female applicants could perform laborer duties. In addition to being illegal, that type of workplace discrimination can be costly: $295,000, to be exact.
Source: Business Insurance, "Brunswick, Lund settle hiring discrimination case for $295,000," Judy Greenwald, Sept. 5, 2012
• Our firm handles situations similar to the one discussed in this post. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our Minneapolis Workplace Discrimination page.