Minnesotans Take Legal Action Over Critical Race Theory

By Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Reporter
Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he's ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: 'Hit your target' and 'leave the best for last.'
July 31, 2021 Updated: August 1, 2021

A law firm has taken legal action on behalf of Minnesotans opposed to critical race theory (CRT) who argue that they’ve become victims of bullying and retaliation for speaking out against what they say is a divisive and discriminatory philosophy.

The Minnesota-based Upper Midwest Law Center (UMLC) announced on July 30 that it had filed complaints and lawsuits on behalf of clients who “seek an end to the ‘official’ propagandizing of CRT and the bullying and retaliation which accompany it.”

CRT, a quasi-Marxist ideology that interprets society through the lens of a racial struggle, sees inherent racism in the foundations of Western societies, which it seeks to fundamentally transform to end this claimed racial oppression. An effort to incorporate CRT in U.S. schools has been pushed by progressive politicians, activists, and major teachers’ unions, drawing backlash from parents and conservatives.

“Our clients are bravely confronting CRT-inspired bullying, indoctrination, and retaliation, which isn’t ‘training’ or persuasion,” Doug Seaton, president of UMLC, said in a statement.

“They have been insulted, lied about, threatened, demoted, and fired, simply for refusing to submit to this ideology. But the U.S. Constitution, the federal Civil Rights laws, and their Minnesota counterparts don’t permit this race-based discrimination, retaliation, compelled speech, and invasion of privacy.”

Acting on behalf of its clients, UMLC has announced a series of parallel Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charges and state and federal lawsuits.

One UMLC client, Dr. Tara Gustilo, a Filipino American doctor who was chairwoman of obstetrics and gynecology at Hennepin Healthcare System (HHS), was “demoted essentially because of her polite opposition to the Critical Race Theory that’s saturating her organization,” Seaton said in a statement.

“I see a racist and divisive ideology of race essentialism taking over our nation and my institution,” Gustilo said. “Further, there seems to be this growing intolerance for people with different opinions or ideas and it seems that this tribalistic ideology is fostering that kind of intolerance.”

In her EEOC complaint, Gustilo alleged that HHS “engaged in discriminatory and retaliatory behavior by demoting me on the basis of race due to my refusal, as a person of color, to subscribe to Critical Race Theory and the views of the Black Lives Matter movement and even admitting that such refusal served as the ‘trigger’ for my demotion.”

HHS didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time.

Other UMLC clients made similar allegations, with a Native American man claiming that his employer forced him to retire early due to his opposition to CRT and the parents of a Lakeville area student alleging viewpoint discrimination at their daughter’s school for refusing to allow “All Lives Matter” signs to be displayed while letting “Black Lives Matter” posters to be put up.

Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Reporter
Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he's ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: 'Hit your target' and 'leave the best for last.'