July 25th, 2012

A former employee is suing the Minnesota state senate, the Secretary of State, and the state of Minnesota alleging that he was the victim of sex discrimination and wrongful termination. The former employee was terminated after it became clear that he had been having an affair with his boss. He says that female employees of the state who have been involved in similar relationships have not been terminated.

Members of the Minnesota senate have repeatedly asserted that they did not wrongfully terminate the man and that he was an at-will employee at the time that he was fired. At-will means that an employer does not need to provide a reason for termination. However, at-will employees are still protected from being fired for an illegal reason including those based on sex or race discrimination.

The action against the Secretary of State is based on the public statement that the man was filing for unemployment benefits and that he had been denied, alleging that this was a violation of his privacy.

Many Minnesotans assume that government employers would not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, national origin, age, or disability status, not only because they are prohibited by law but because those are not legitimate assessments of an employee’s competency. This case shows that there can be some grey area and that sex discrimination can occur in a wide variety of situations.

More information about illegal gender discrimination and other types of discrimination can be found on our law firm’s website.

Source: Star Tribune, “Ex-Senate employee Brodkorb files suit against Senate, state,” Rachel E. Stassen-Berger, July 23, 2012.

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