Chauffeurs discrimination case: 3 female workers awarded $130K each

January 31, 2016 | By Garrett Montgomery More

Three chauffeurs won a discrimination case against the owner of limo companies and have been awarded $130,000 each. The three female chauffeurs were scheduled to drive Prince Abdul-Rahman bin Abdul-Aziz and his large entourage around, but were dismissed because his royal highness did not want women working for him.

Chauffeurs discrimination case

Three female chauffeurs won a discrimination case against their employer and were awarded $130,000 each. This week, a U.S. District Judge named Joan Ericksen declared Gretchen Cooper, Barbara Herold, and Lisa Boutelle victorious in their discrimination lawsuit filed against the owner of three Minnesota limo companies.

In October of 2010, the trio along with 36 other employees were hired by the companies to chauffeur Prince Abdul-Rahman bin Abdul-Aziz, his family, and friends while his highness was being treated at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

On the first day on the job, the female chauffeurs, who showed up to work at 8 AM, were told to take their belongings from the limos and leave because the prince wanted “no women drivers.” The female drivers were dismissed because Saudi Arabia is the only Muslim country in the world where women are prohibited from driving.

One of the female drivers was shocked by the news because the day before, she had picked up several members of the royal family at the airport. In 2012, the three employees with the help of attorney Jill Gaulding, of the advocacy group Gender Justice, filed a lawsuit against the three companies.

Court documents showed that the only reason the chauffeurs were “offered the job in the first place was because it was thought to be elegant to have female drivers chauffeur ‘ladies and kids’ in the prince’s train.” In November, the federal judge ruled in favor of Cooper, Herold, and Boutelle, and on Friday, she awarded $130,000 to each woman.

Why $130,000? $100,000 for mental anguish and suffering under the Minnesota Human Rights Act and Erickson doubled the $15,000 that each woman sought for wage loss to $30,000. Two of the three companies involved have settled with the women. Crown Prince Limousine is still battling in court with the workers. Lisa Stratton, who works with Gender Justice, praised the judge’s decision by saying:

“The key issue for us is people know now that it is not legal in the state of Minnesota or the United States to discriminate because your customer asks you to. When you do business in the United States, the law of the United States applies.”

It has been confirmed that the other male drivers, who were hired by the Prince and his party, earned $100 a day, plus tips, gifts, and fancy meals.

What are your thoughts on the female workers’ victory?


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