Mark Iandolo Jun. 10, 2016, 12:39pm


ATLANTA (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced Bloom at Belfair, a nursing home in Bluffton, South Carolina, will pay $40,000 after allegations of race discrimination.

 According to EEOC, the company discriminated against Michelle Billups Tensley when it fired her in September 2014 because of her race. Tensley, an African-American, was the activities director at the facility and was allegedly fired after a single missed day of work. Tensley said it was for a family medical issue and that she openly announced the absence in advance.

The EEOC charged that Tensley’s firing followed the termination of other African-American managers at the facility and was part of a company plan to eliminate African-Americans from management.

"Plain and simple, employers cannot fire employees because of their race," said Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, director of EEOC's Atlanta District Office. "Company rules must be enforced fairly and without regard to anyone's race."

A consent decree will force the company to provide provisions for equal employment opportunity training and to post a notice about the lawsuit to all company employees.

"It is important for workers to know that they will be treated fairly in the workplace, without regard to race,” said Lynette Barnes, acting regional attorney for the Atlanta District Office.

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