Taymark employees claim layoffs were discriminatory

Four former employees of Taymark Inc., a subsidiary of Taylor Corp. of North Mankato, have filed lawsuits claiming they were laid off in June 2007 for unlawful reasons.

Barbara Benedict, Betty Dueber, Angela Proper and Gina Lynch claim Taymark selected them for termination based on their gender, age and salary levels, retaining younger, less experienced workers in their stead.

The women each seek damages of more than $50,000.

Dueber also says she was fired because she filed a workers’ compensation claim, while Proper claims she was targeted because she complained of sexual harassment, and Lynch alleges she was terminated because she took pregnancy leave.

The lawsuits claim that managers were encouraged to keep younger, lower-paid employees and showed “sexual favoritism” in the layoffs, retaining personal friends and women they found attractive.

The lawsuits further allege that company owner Glen Taylor, who also owns the Minnesota Timberwolves, put his lover on the payroll in lieu of paying child support for their illegitimate daughter and when their daughter came of age, he hired her on as well. The lawsuits charge that the mother and child were not held to the same standards as other employees.

Taymark, which markets decorations and party supplies, vigorously denied the allegations and expressed confidence that the company will prevail in court.