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.