Gender discrimination in the workplace may seem to be an antiquated subject, but many Americans would be surprised to know how relevant the issue still is today. Last month, three Minnesota women won a gender discrimination case after losing their chauffeur jobs due to a Saudi prince’s demand that he only be chauffeured by males.
According to the Insurance Journal, Gretchen Cooper, Barbara Herold and Lisa Boutelle were all awarded $130,000 when U.S. District Judge Joan Ericksen ruled in favor of the three wrongfully discharged women. The damages are broken down into $100,000 each for mental anguish and suffering under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, as well as $30,000 each for wage loss. Judge Ericksen doubled the original $15,000 the women were owed in back wages.
“The key issue for us is people know now that it is not legal in the state of Minnesota or the United States to discriminate because your customer asks you to,” Lisa Stratton, one of the women’s attorneys from the legal organization Gender Justice, said. “When you do business in the United States, the law of the United States applies.”
In October 2010, 40 drivers, including the three female plaintiffs, were hired to chauffeur Prince Abdul-Rahman bin Abdul-Aziz, his friends and family during prince’s stay at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. However, the prince and his followers allegedly requested only male chauffeurs for the job considering women in Saudi Arabia are forbidden to drive vehicles.
There were three limousine companies named in the gender discrimination lawsuit. Two of three companies settled with the plaintiffs, while defendant Crown Prince Limousine, which is actually the business name of Mohamed Ali Elbashir, proceeded to trial. The Saudi Arabian Embassy in Washington, D.C., was closed and did not return Insurance Journal’s request for comment.
Source: Insurance Journal