Madia Law, representing a woman who worked at a Twin Cities technology company, has initiated a sex discrimination lawsuit against the company pursuant to the Minnesota Human Rights Act. Just prior to the Plaintiff’s hire, the company (which has been in business for decades) employed dozens of men and not a single woman.
In Fall 2012, the Plaintiff commenced employment as a department manager. Around the same time, the Defendant hired two other women. During her interview, a senior-level executive told the Plaintiff that although he was willing to hire her, the company had bad past experiences with women and “doesn’t like to hire” them. Shortly after starting, the Plaintiff was told that she would have to “prove” herself by, “doing better than any man” if she wanted to keep her job; she was also repeatedly told that she was, “at a disadvantage” because she was a woman.
A few weeks later, the executive that interviewed the Plaintiff had a meeting with her to discuss the “politics and culture” of the company—which he said were, “very conservative and religious.” In that meeting, the executive told the Plaintiff that he needed to “prepare” her for the return of the CEO, who was on a religious pilgrimage in a foreign country and wouldn’t “know what to do” when he returned and found, “all these women.” The executive went on to explain that the CEO, “believes that women do not belong in the workplace.”
Throughout her employment with the company, the Plaintiff was continually treated in a hostile and discriminatory manner. From not being allowed to have food at her desk, to having her salary disclosed to coworkers, to being constantly over scrutinized and badgered, the Plaintiff was continuously treated differently than men.
Despite trying to ignore the problem and logging 50-60 hours a week in order to meet heightened expectations, after several months of such treatment, the Plaintiff complained to human resources. A week and a half later, the Plaintiff was told that her job would be outsourced and that she was, “no longer needed.”
The lawsuit, which has not yet been filed in Minnesota state district court, was served on the Defendant on Friday, January 25. The suit alleges disparate treatment, hostile work environment, and retaliatory discharge.