U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Elder Living Homes Operator Fired or Forced Resignation of Four African American Employees, Federal Agency Says
ATLANTA - Bloomfield Senior Living at Bluffton, an operator of elder living homes in Bluffton and Hilton Head, S.C., violated federal law by firing an African American activities director because of her race, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina (Case No. 9:15-cv-04047), Michelle Tensley was working as an activities director at the employer's Bloom at Belfair facility when she was fired because of her race. Tensley made the facility director aware she was going to be absent to care for her daughter, but the director fired her on the pretense that she failed to tell him personally of her absence. EEOC alleges that within a year of his appointment, Tensley's supervisor fired or forced the resignation of all four African American managers under his supervision.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, including firing employees because of their race. EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. EEOC is seeking back pay, compensatory and punitive damages and seeks injunctive relief to stop and prevent any future discrimination.
"Employment decisions must not be made based on one's race," said Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, director for EEOC's Atlanta District Office, "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."
According to Robert Dawkins, EEOC regional attorney, "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."
EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about EEOC is available on the agency's website at www.eeoc.gov.