Many lines of work in Minnesota are historically dominated by men and have only in recent years come to grips with the problem of sex discrimination. Unfortunately, as these jobs have slowly opened up to female workers, these pioneering women employees have often faced another problem related to discrimination, sexual harassment.
Both Minnesota and federal laws prohibit many kinds of employment discrimination on the basis of race, sex, national origin and certain other factors, but discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a trickier issue. Minnesota's Human Rights Act lists discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation among its prohibited types of workplace discrimination, but the U.S. Civil Rights Act does not. The picture gets even more complicated when religious institutions are involved in discrimination.
Both the Minnesota Human Rights Act and the federal Civil Rights Act prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of race. However, that doesn't mean that the only type of discrimination prohibited is the type that pits one race against the other. Even some types of discrimination within one racial group may run afoul of the law, if the discrimination is on the basis of race.
Investment company Merrill Lynch has agreed to settle a long-brewing racial discrimination lawsuit for a record $160 million, according to news reports. As of this writing, Merrill Lynch had not yet confirmed the settlement. If it goes forward, it would represent the largest settlement ever paid in a racially-based employment discrimination lawsuit against a U.S. employer.