FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, March 2, 2022
The Upper Midwest Law Center Files Lawsuit Against Minnesota Department of Human Services
UMLC cites discrimination and retaliation against a twenty-seven-year employee of the Department of Human Services
Golden Valley, MN – This week, the Upper Midwest Law Center (UMLC) sued the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) and Commissioner Jodi Harpstead on behalf of former employee Joseph Norgren in the Federal District of Minnesota. The suit claims racial and religious discrimination and retaliation.
Norgren was employed as a Security Counselor with the Minnesota Security Hospital, which is part of the Minnesota Department of Human Services. A Christian and of Native American descent, specifically Ojibwe of the Red Lake Nation, Norgren’s upbringing has informed many of his beliefs.
Norgren was told by his supervisors that he was required to complete four “trainings” on controversial, non-work-related subjects, in addition to the basic discrimination and harassment training already administered to all employees, which Norgren had completed. One of the four trainings was titled “How to be Anti Racist” was based on Critical Race Theory (CRT) ideology, such as inherent White racism and Black victimhood. Another training was entitled “Understanding Gender Identity and Expression: Moving Beyond the Binary”, which was hostile to heterosexuality, the family, and Christianity.
Norgren followed the appropriate channels to express his disagreement with the trainings and sought religious exemption for the gender training. He was denied at every step of the process. The department created an environment in which Norgren felt forced to prematurely separate from his employment with the State of Minnesota.
“The Minnesota Department of Human Services discriminated against Mr. Norgren using racist CRT and anti-Christian ideology,” said Doug Seaton, President of the UMLC. “CRT and identity politics are creating racial division and destroying civil rights in our schools and places of employment. It must stop. Government employers simply can’t discriminate against employees to chase so-called equity.”
For more information, please see a copy of the complaint attached, click here.