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Discrimination alleged among employees for being tribal members

There are different types of discrimination. Some are common and some aren't. Under the category of employment discrimination, there is a type of discrimination called national-origin and race discrimination. There was a recent case that occurred at St. Cloud University, here in Minnesota, that has attracted attention. A Nigerian professor at the university, who is also a member of the Igbo tribe in Nigeria, believes that his salary is lower than that of other Nigerians at the university who are members of the Yoruba tribe. One of the members of the university's hiring committee is also a member of the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria. It is believed that the Nigerian hiring committee member may have been instrumental in helping his fellow tribe members to be hired at the university at a higher salary.

The Igbo tribe member felt that he was a victim of employment discrimination and filed a case for national-origin and race discrimination.

The university responded that since the other Nigerian professors were earning a higher salary, the charges of national-origin and race discrimination were baseless. The university spokesperson stated that the other professors had negotiated for a higher salary and that the Igbo tribesman did not. Hence, the wage discrimination factor was also irrelevant.

After filing the lawsuit, the professor added tribal affiliation as an example of national-origin discrimination. The professor reasoned that since the other professors negotiated for a higher salary, it was because they were members of the Yoruba tribe, just like the professor who was part of the hiring committee.

The court didn't consider the claim because the professor had hesitated to bring up the matter originally. However, the court agreed that tribal discrimination may be considered as national-origin discrimination.

Source: Business Management DAILY, "Beware bias based on employee's tribal status," Oct. 21, 2012

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