Industry News

March 03, 2017 3:31:07 pm

Federal Court Affirms Tribe’s Sovereign Immunity in Interpretation of Title VII Claims


On February 21, 2017, a federal court in Wisconsin reaffirmed a tribe’s sovereign immunity with respect to Title VII claims of wrongful termination. The court found that tribes do not waive their sovereign immunity when they incorporate federal labor laws into their tribal code.

Plaintiffs were tribal members whose employment was terminated by the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians. The employees filed against the tribe alleging Title VII claims of sex discrimination, race discrimination, and retaliation. The court found that (i) the tribe’s sovereign immunity precluded the plaintiffs’ claims, and (ii) a tribe is not an “employer” under Title VII such that the tribe’s incorporation of federal labor laws into its code did not waive its sovereign immunity.

More details are available here. For information about how REDW can provide support in review or development of your employee policies and codes affecting Tribes, please contact Tal Moore or Carol Cochran.


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