Minneapolis, MN

Airport battles some muslim cabbies

January 04, 2007
Officials at Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport are proposing stiffer penalties - including suspension of an airport taxi license - to Muslim cab drivers who refuse service to passengers toting alcohol or service dogs.
     Officials on Wednesday asked the Metropolitan Airport Commission for permission to hold public hearings on a proposal that would suspend the airport licenses of cab drivers who refuse service for reasons other than safety concerns. The penalties would also apply to drivers who refuse a fare because a trip is too short.

Landlords fined $352,500 over sex harassment

August 31, 2006
The owners and managers of eight rental properties in the Minneapolis area will pay $352,500 to the households of women who were sexually harassed by a landlord. The agreement announced Thursday by the U.S. Department of Justice also includes a $35,000 civil penalty. It must still be approved by a federal judge in Minneapolis.
     The settlement is to be paid by the accused landlord and property owner, Robert Wones, plus three other defendants who hired him to manage their properties.

Immigrant workers file sex harassment class action against multinational maintenance company

May 15, 2006
Eight Latina women today filed a class action civil rights lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota in Minneapolis on behalf of women who have experienced sex harassment -- including coerced sex and additional assaults in the workplace -- as well as other discrimination and retaliation at work.
     The federal lawsuit alleges that the women's employer, ABM Industries Incorporated (ABM), has failed to address these civil rights violations for years, fostering a work environment where male supervisors have been free to sexually harass their female subordinates.

No money down! A lifetime to pay! The booming field of subprime mortgages

September 07, 2005
The townhouse where John and Rosalie Marolt live is the sort of place where people typically just make do. A single small space does triple duty as living room, dining room, and kitchen. It's very sparsely furnished, and outfitted with pebbly-surfaced sheet vinyl and wood-tone cabinetry and other materials that look tired and cheap even though they're brand-new. The extra window it's afforded as the end unit looks out on mud and weeds and a sagging stack of trusses that hints at more rows of townhouses to come. Yet somehow it's clean and bright and cheerful.
     The Marolts have been renting this place in Zimmerman, a dozen miles north of Elk River, for a year, ever since it became clear that they were going to lose the house they'd owned for 14 years, that the succession of ever-bigger mortgages that were supposed to keep their heads above water were in fact drowning them, that what they might have accumulated instead got siphoned off by a series of creditors who specialized in dangling lifelines to desperate families. They simply let go of the house, 1,000 square feet of hardboard siding and fake shutters in a rundown neighborhood a few blocks away, moved their things out, and let the sheriff deliver it back to the bank.

AARP joining age-bias lawsuit against 3M

April 26, 2005
In any system, someone has to be below average.
     But 3M's employee evaluation system could stick too many older workers at the bottom, according to the national AARP, which today will announce that it's joining an age-discrimination suit against the Minnesota manufacturer.
     The AARP has made it a priority to fight the so-called "forced ranking" performance appraisals, said Dan Kohrman, a AARP lawyer from Washington, D.C., who will be co-counsel to Minneapolis-based Sprenger & Lang in the lawsuit.
     The system, which requires managers to rank employees in comparison to one another and to put a certain percentage in every category from low to high, is prone to stereotyping and therefore discriminatory, Kohrman said.

Justice Department, U.S. attorney say landlord forced women into having sex for apartments

January 17, 2005
The U.S. attorney's office filed a lawsuit Thursday against a Twin Cities landlord for allegedly sexually harassing female tenants.
     Robert Wones, who has owned or managed a number of apartment houses in Minneapolis and its immediate suburbs, was named in a civil suit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney Thomas Heffelfinger.
     This is the second major sexual harassment case brought by the U.S. Justice Department in the Twin Cities.
     Thursday's suit, filed in federal district court in Minneapolis, alleges that Wones, 64, subjected women to sexual touching and advances and forced them to have sex with him if they wanted to rent one of his apartments. Wones "engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination in housing based on sex by subjecting female tenants to severe, pervasive and unwelcome sexual harassment,'' the complaint said.

2nd landlord faces sex harassment suit

December 17, 2004
The U.S. attorney's office filed a lawsuit Thursday against a Twin Cities landlord for allegedly sexually harassing female tenants.
     Robert Wones, who has owned or managed a number of apartment houses in Minneapolis and its immediate suburbs, was named in a civil suit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney Thomas Heffelfinger.
     Thursday's suit, filed in federal district court in Minneapolis, alleges that Wones, 64, subjected women to sexual touching and advances and forced them to have sex with him if they wanted to rent one of his apartments. Wones "engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination in housing based on sex by subjecting female tenants to severe, pervasive and unwelcome sexual harassment,'' the complaint said.

Landlord to pay $525,000 in bias case

October 28, 2004
A Minneapolis landlord has agreed to pay $525,000 to a couple who claimed he forced them and other black tenants out of their apartments.
     The agreement, which involves oversight by a federal judge, is believed to be the largest payment in a Minnesota housing discrimination case.
     Robert L. Kreisler Jr., who owns a number of apartment buildings in Minneapolis, reached a settlement with Eboni and Julius SternJohn on Friday and thereby avoided a civil trial that was scheduled to begin Monday in U.S. District Court. Instead, U.S. District Judge Michael Davis approved the agreement this week as part of a consent decree.

Family gets $1.1 million in race discrimination case

October 25, 2004
United States District Court Judge Michael J. Davis has approved judgment of nearly $1.1 million in a race discrimination case. This is believed to be the largest judgment ever secured by a Minnesota family in a fair housing case. Judgment will be entered against Robert Kreisler, a businessman who owns several apartment buildings in Minnesota.
     Miller-O'Brien, on behalf of Eboni and Julius SternJohn, filed suit against Mr. Kreisler in 2002 for his alleged policy against renting to African Americans. Mr. Kreisler attempted to evict the SternJohns shortly after taking over the apartment building where the SternJohns had lived for years.
     Justin Cummins, an attorney with Miller-O'Brien, stated: "This is a great victory not only for the SternJohns, but for the community as a whole. The remedies ordered by the Court are unique and comprehensive. This case sends a powerful message that the silent bigotry of stereotyping will not be tolerated."

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