State Employee's Discrimination Case Proceeds to Trial

After being unfairly denied a promotion, longtime and loyal Radio Talking Book employee Anthony Lopez sued the State of Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development for race, color, and national original discrimination and reprisal under the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

Lopez, a Latino male, has worked for Radio Talking Book—a free news and information service that broadcasts programming to blind, visually impaired, and print-disabled individuals around the nation—since 1997, and is one of the few people of color working for State Services for the Blind of Minnesota, Radio Talking Book’s parent organization. When Lopez’s supervisor announced his retirement, Lopez applied and was the only qualified internal applicant for the position. Instead of awarding Lopez the position, the hiring manager went against established practices and opened the position to the public with different requirements. The State denied Lopez the job, and hired a White candidate instead.

On December 17, 2018, the Court denied the State’s motion for summary judgment in part, allowing Lopez’s discrimination claim to proceed to trial. The Court stated, “Given the modification of the Supervisor Position’s requirements once Plaintiff was the sole candidate and the general subjective nature of the hiring process, Plaintiff has provided sufficient evidence to make it a disputed issue of fact as to whether or not Defendant’s proffered reasons for not hiring plaintiff for the supervisor position are pretext for prohibited discrimination.” Trial in this case is set for April 2019.

The case is Lopez v. State of Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, No. 62-CV-17-6340 (Minn. Dist. Ct.). The plaintiff is represented by Matthew H. Morgan and Lindsey E. Krause of Nichols Kaster, PLLP.