MN Department of Human Rights settles 2nd pregnancy discrimination in less than 2 months
The Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) has settled a second pregnancy discrimination in less than two months.
The agency calls these discrimination cases “persistent and prevalent.”
MDHR just reached another settlement after finding “Four Paws and a Tail” in Blaine fired an employee within one hour of learning she was pregnant.
When Minnesotans reach out, MDHR sees if the incident falls within their statute. If it does, they launch a neutral investigation into the incident to see if there’s probable cause of discrimination.
This is the second pregnancy discrimination case the department has announced in less than two months.
The state agency also reached a settlement in November 2023 after Christina Holland was wrongfully terminated in December 2020.
Holland explained the incident changed who she was as a person.
“I’m always cheerful and always optimistic and then this happened. It changed my whole outlook on things,” Holland said.
Holland was fired from PL Dental in December 2020 after she told her employer she was pregnant with twins. Doctors recommended an early leave because the pregnancy was high-risk.
She took the case to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights and the state agency found she was terminated because of her pregnancy.
“I was scared. I was heartbroken,” Holland said. “I had put so much of my effort into this company and I actually enjoyed coming to work.”
After her firing, she said she could no longer afford day care for her child.
“We also had to get rid of our second vehicle,” she said. “It was just a huge financial strain on our family. It was a huge emotional burden.”
The state agency reached a nearly $98,000 settlement with PL Dental in the case.
“I am always alarmed and concerned by the amount of discrimination that persists across Minnesota and across the country,” Rebecca Lucero, Minnesota Department of Human Rights commissioner, said.
The three most common cases the state agency receives are race, disability and sex discrimination.
“They’re very blatant in these situations. They are not always so blatant,” Lucero said. “That’s why it’s really important to talk to an investigative team.”
Lucero said the agency announces these cases to encourage businesses across the state to take a proactive approach in examining their own policies.
“Look, if you’re creating an inclusive workspace so that discrimination doesn’t happen in the first place because the more we’re preventing it from happening on the front end, the less you have these situations,” Lucero said. “You must have good policies in place. You must train on those policies and you must enforce these policies.”
Holland is encouraging other Minnesotans experiencing discrimination to speak up.
“Don’t give up. When one door closes, another one always opens,” Holland said.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reached out to PL Dental and Four Paws and a Tail for comment but have not heard back yet.
Pregnancy discrimination has been illegal in Minnesota since 1977, MDHR said.
If you believe you have been discriminated against for pregnancy or other reasons, you can report the discrimination here.