The Complainant alleged that the Respondent unlawfully terminated his employment in retaliation to his discussions with the Respondent Human Resources department about possible workplace discrimination. The Respondent investigated the matter and contended that the Complainant’s employment was terminated for falsely reporting discrimination.
The Complainant worked for the Respondent as a Data Entry Specialist. The Complainant was informed by his direct supervisor that he and other coworkers were conversing too much, causing productivity to decline. The Complainant found that all of the coworkers cited by the Complainant direct supervisor were African-American. The Complainant and a co-worker met with Respondent human resources personnel, expressing their belief that they were being singled out due to their race. Upon being informed of the Complainant’s concerns, the Respondent CEO placed the Complainant on paid administrative leave. In the following weeks the Respondent CEO terminated the Complainant’s employment.
The Department found that the Complainant’s meeting with human resources was a protected activity because he expressed concerns in good faith that implicated potential violations of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Ordinance. Furthermore, the Department found that the close timing between the Complainant’s protected activity of reporting discrimination and the termination of his employment supported a finding that the Respondent’s actions were retaliatory
The Complainant was awarded $33,000 for lost wages and actual damages. The Respondent also agreed to provide its employees training on diversity and conducting internal investigations. Furthermore, the Respondent agreed to evaluate its existing policies or develop new policies addressing its obligations under the Minneapolis Civil Rights Ordinance and other state and federal civil rights laws.
Finally, the Respondent agreed to revise or create a new policy for the filing of employee complaints internally. Specifically, this policy would outline procedures that allow its employees to internally express any concerns or allege violations of the Respondent policy and/or the Minneapolis Civil Rights Ordinance, the Minnesota Human Rights Act, or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.