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Minnesota limousine drivers file sex discrimination suit

Three female limousine drivers recently filed a federal lawsuit, alleging sex discrimination against a very famous client: Prince Abdul-Rahman bin Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia. Their complaint also names as defendants the three limousine firms which allegedly hired drivers for the prince. Two of the limousine firms are Minnesota-based; the other company operates out of New York.

The women claim they were among at least 40 drivers who had been hired in October, 2010 for a month-long assignment to provide transportation for the prince and his entourage. The prince was reportedly visiting the Mayo Clinic to receive medical treatment. The first day of the chauffeuring assignment smoothly, with the women picking up the prince and his group at the airport. However, when one of the women arrived at the prince's hotel the next morning, she claims that she was informed that her driving services were no longer needed.

According to their complaint, a company representative informed all three women that the prince's group didn't want any female drivers. The representative allegedly stated that the company's hands were tired, and advised the women not to take it personally. The complaint further alleges that the companies have also refrained from hiring any female drivers for Saudi clients since the unlawful incident.

The gender discrimination was especially disappointing for one of the women, who had worked as a driver for another Saudi client -- Princess Nura bint Abdallah bin Muhammad Al Saud al-Kabir -- several years before. She claims she made enough income during that six-week assignment to take nearly a year off after her child was born. She also remembers the princess commenting to her that women weren't allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia.

In Minnesota, state and federal laws prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of sex or gender. Those laws generally prohibit an employer from treating an employee unequally based on the fact that the employee is a woman or is a man.

Source: Star Tribune, "Three Rochester women sue Saudi prince," Dan Browning, Sept. 24, 2012

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