Minnesota Lawyer Beats Discriminatory Veterans Preference Scheme

Veterans Preference

Benjamin KrauseMinneapolis area lawyer and Marine veteran John Baker beat the state capital of St. Paul in a veterans preference hiring scheme that illegally withheld employment from veteran Brian Balfanz.

This is not Baker’s first win. It follows a long line of successful representations against illegal hiring practices perpetrated by state and city agencies in Minnesota. Despite legislative policies to the contrary, Minnesota has a not so great history of pronouncing great hiring benefits for veterans while ignoring those benefits when it came time to hiring veterans into deserving positions at the state or city level.

Here, the City of St. Paul withheld mandatory extra hiring points to allow for the hiring of lesser scoring nonveterans into the city’s Parks Department. Attorney Baker gave the city a chance to correct the error but its hiring arm refused to acknowledge the mistake prior to spending countless unsuccessful man-hours to smooth over the impact of the legal breach, later.

At the end of the day, the city was given a chance to correct the wrong but told the veteran and his attorney to, for lack of a better term, piss off.

Star Tribune reported:

Maplewood attorney John Baker, an ex-Marine who represented Balfanz and has taken on the causes of other veterans, said the case “should have implications across the state” for jurisdictions considering veterans for employment.

“Cities need to take note, and this should give them pause to look at their hiring practices throughout the state,” Baker said. “Communities say they want to hire vets, but follow practices that violate state preferential laws.”

City officials have 30 days to appeal the commissioner’s order to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

“We are reviewing the order, discussing its potential ramifications and considering our options for appeal,” City Attorney Sara Grewing said.

Jason Quick, Minnesota state director of Concerned Veterans for America, said that officials should be held accountable for what he called “abysmal” hiring practices.

“St. Paul has clearly lost sight of its priorities,” Quick said. “If you award the points and [veterans] don’t end up being the number one choice, that’s one thing. But if you don’t award the points at all, changes need to be made so that type of thing doesn’t happen to a segment of the population that is grossly unemployed.”

According to the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress, the unemployment rate among Minnesota veterans last year was 5 percent, the same as the general statewide rate. However, the unemployment rate for Minnesota’s post-9/11 veterans was 8.8 percent.

READ MORE: https://www.startribune.com/local/stpaul/279639252.html

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  1. This a good thing to hear. There needs to be more lawyers willing to take on veterans issues like this. I would like to see whole groups of lawyers getting together and petitioning to get VA under judicial authority of some type and make them more accountable.

  2. Good for him and his client! I wish we had more lawyers who were willing to take on veterans as clients in these types of cases. I’ve given up looking for a federal job despite my hiring preference and qualifications. The VA and my home state of Utah both routinely ignore veterans’ hiring preferences in favor of nepotistic hiring practices.

    The main problem is that there is ZERO transparency in these hiring practices. The SLC VA was hiring VSO’s this last summer, and I know that one girl they hired was not a veteran, had no preference, and an associate”s degree. I have a 70% service-connected rating, am a veteran (obviously), and an MBA.

    What she DID have, however, were two parents, a sister, and two brothers working for either the VA Hospital or the VARO here in SLC.

  3. I Was the victim of discrimination a few years ago by a temporary agency called Corporate Employment Services The EEOC filed a class action lawsuit against them and I was unexpectedly awarded a nice amount of money a couple years back to make up for what I would have earned had I been given a job. 🙂

  4. It is extremely unfortunate that is so obvious that politicians at all levels think veterans do not comprehend the blatant prejudice against veterans. The “right” wants a strong military, but what their rhetoric really means is money to their contractor friends, not military families and vets. The “left” so often claims they aren’t anti-military or anti-vet, but the cuts in military budgets leaves no alternative but to cut benefits, programs, and allows executives to lie, falsify records, and ignore the law while maintaining the anti-vet unions (not only national but state and local). Only prosecution or outright revolt will fix these problems, as vets have long been lied to by those recommending working within the system. Passing laws requiring mandatory service in the military for all in public service is a good first step. As a “radical”, I also believe stripping guilty parties of citizenship or mandatory induction and year long tours in war zones must be implemented. Then maybe, just maybe corrupt political low-life’s might get it.

  5. No surprise here. St. Paul is a democratic stronghold. This means that more veterans in the future throughout America that live in cities that hold a democratic majority will continually be shunned, ignored, and held in contempt by corrupt bureaucrats and politicians. When Obama grants the expected 32 million work visas to illegal aliens in the very near future, you can expect that you yourself will find yourself out of a job. I fully expect that all employed veterans will be extremely shocked by the coming tidal wave of job losses that will personally affect them. This Christmas will be a very frugal one for many veterans as they whimper with hunger pains and shiver in their frigid house as they wait for it to be foreclosed on because they no longer collect a paycheck.

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