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Law Offices of Dan A. Atkerson

Elder Living Home Sued Over Allegations of Race Discrimination

By Dan Atkerson on October 14, 2015

Woman in an interviewAccording to a recent lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Bloomfield Senior Living at Bluffton, a retirement home operator, violated the Civil Rights Act by firing an African-American employee for her race.

The lawsuit claims that Michelle Tensley had been working at the Bloom at Belfair facility, and was the fourth manager to be fired or forced to resign by the facility director. Tensley says that she informed the director that she would be absent to care for her daughter one day and was fired soon after. The lawsuit reports that the explanation the director gave as to why he terminated Tensley was that he was not informed in person of the absence.

The EEOC attempted to reach an out-of-court settlement with Bloomfield. However, after failing to reach a settlement deal, the EEOC has moved forward with the suit. They are seeking compensation, including back pay and lost wages. They are also pursuing punitive damages for the Civil Rights Act violation. On top of monetary awards, the EEOC is also working towards injunctive relief to avoid future discrimination.

"Bloomfield knew the manager had forced out three African-American managers within the first three months of his employment, but was allowed to continue discriminating and fire Ms. Tensley," said Robert Dawkins, the regional EEOC attorney.

Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office director, added that "employment decisions must not be made based on one's race. Employers should focus on the ability of the employee to do the job. EEOC will continue to stop and remedy race discrimination wherever we find it."

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