Molly Diers, photographed at the Guthrie in January, has continued to work in other construction jobs, including at the Super Bowl, since leaving the theater. (Star Tribune photo by Brian Peterson)
Resignations from the Guthrie Theater scene shop earlier this year resulted in a number of charges and investigations, two of which have been resolved in favor of the theater.
Molly Diers and Nate Saul resigned in January after being passed over for a promotion in the theater’s scene shop, with both charging they’d been overlooked for the supervisor job in favor of a less-qualified candidate. Diers charged that she had been discriminated against because of her gender in the mostly-male department and that she had been subjected to a hostile workplace.
The first finding for the Guthrie came on a grievance filed by Diers and Saul under their union contract. An arbitrator ruled that the two scene-shop workers had superior technical knowledge to Jesse Delaney, who was hired for the supervisor post, but that his communication skills were superior, so they were all equally qualified.
The second finding is from the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights, which issued a “no probable cause” determination on Diers’ charge, which included discrimination, being subjected to a hostile work environment and retaliation. Diers has appealed, alleging that the city department failed to speak with witnesses and ignored testimony and evidence in her favor.
A third filing, with the National Labor Relations Board, is still pending. Diers alleges that the Guthrie violated the National Labor Relations Act by giving her a poor performance evaluation, in retaliation for workplace complaints.
In a statement to staff after the arbitrator's ruling, Guthrie artistic director Joseph Haj wrote that inclusion remains a priority at the theater: “I want to make clear that neither this ruling, nor the ruling of the remaining two claims, will move us any closer to, or further away from, the commitments we’ve made to each other as a staff, nor the commitments we’ve made to our community.”
Shortly after the two left the theater, dozens of employees, most of them women, signed a letter asserting that “the theater has inherited such sexist operational structures and practices that place women at a distinct disadvantage.”
Diers, who said the Guthrie job remains her “dream job,” indicated she still hopes there’s a way to return to it and that she remains committed to helping “the women at the Guthrie improve their working conditions.”