October 16th, 2012

We’ve written in the past about the sex discrimination lawsuit that was filed earlier this year against the Minnesota state senate. A former staffer was terminated after news broke of his affair with one of his superiors, who was the senate majority leader at the time. The former staffer said that he was the victim of sex discrimination, and that similarly situation female staff members who engaged in affairs with coworkers were not terminated.

Attorneys for the senate say that his allegations are unfounded and that they intend to continue to fight the charge of sex discrimination. Both sides have said that they intend to go to trial, although now it seems that the former staffer is interested in discussing a settlement. He told reporters this week that he thinks the election this year is getting in the way of the senate’s willingness to discuss a resolution outside the courtroom.

Both the former staffer and senate spokespeople have spoken to the media about the case, repeatedly blaming the other side for the high cost of the litigation to taxpayers and the ongoing dispute.

In many employment disputes, the two parties are able to come to an agreement without too much animosity. This dispute shows the other extreme, with the parties unable to come to an agreement and fighting out their issues in the media. Negotiating in this way can be very effective but can also be damaging to both parties, particularly if they end up going to trial and one party loses. An effective negotiation can mean both parties getting some of the things that they want, but maybe not all. A loss at trial means that one party will get everything that they want and the other will leave with a large bill in hand.

Source: Minnesota Public Radio News, “Brodkorb insists he was fired from state Senate unfairly,” Tim Nelson, Oct. 15, 2012.

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