A former agent for insurance giant Allstate has filed suit against his former employer, arguing that it violated Minnesota law when it fired him for not fulfilling a life insurance quota. The Minnesota Department of Commerce has already fined the company in relation to the man's firing.
Minneapolis-based Target Corp. had a public relations nightmare on its hands recently when news media reported that managers at one of the retail giant's warehouses had circulated a memo purportedly detailing the differences between different groups of Hispanic employees. News media were also quick to report when a company spokesperson apologized for the racially insensitive memo.
Now that the celebrations have died down a bit after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to strike down a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, many people in Minnesota are starting to wonder what this decision will mean. Clearly, it will mean that married same-sex couples in Minnesota cannot be denied the same federal benefits that go to heterosexual married couples. Less clear is how the ruling will affect the laws that are supposed to prohibit employment discrimination.
Under Minnesota and federal laws, when an employee becomes pregnant, her employer generally must make reasonable accommodations to her work duties to allow her to keep working as long as she wants to during the pregnancy. Reasonable accommodations could include getting her a chair, reassigning her to a different department or otherwise modifying her duties. The general idea is that a woman shouldn't be forced to choose between keeping her job and keeping her baby.