Attorneys at Law




“Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?”


The Minnesota Supreme Court decided an interesting case earlier this month. In LeAnn Taylor v. LSI Corporation of America, LeAnn Taylor sued LSI for “marital status discrimination,” under the Minnesota Human Rights Act. She claimed that her employer, LSI, violated the Act when it terminated her after her husband, who was president of LSI, was forced to resign (the case did not say why he was forced to resign). LSI’s CEO allegedly told LeAnn’s husband that he would like to terminate LeAnn because “she would feel uncomfortable or awkward remaining employed with LSI after Mr. Taylor left LSI.” He also allegedly told LeAnn that due to her husband’s situation and the fact that it was likely that Taylors were going to have to relocate, LSI was eliminating her position.

The trial court originally dismissed LeAnn’s claim, but the Minnesota Supreme Court agreed with the court of appeals and held that LeAnn could proceed with her claim because an employer cannot discharge an employee, “because of marital status.” Specifically, the Minnesota Human Rights Act protects “against discrimination on the basis of the identity, situation, actions, or beliefs of a spouse or former spouse.” The case can now proceed to trial barring a settlement.

Takeaway: Employing spouses at the same company can present some touchy issues when the company seeks to discipline or terminate one of them.