By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC

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Columbine Management Services Inc. has agreed to pay $335,000 to settle allegations by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that it fired care providers because they were from Ethiopia or Sudan.

Columbine Management also agreed to change the employees’ terminations to resignations, provide them with neutral references, and administer Title VII training (related to non-discrimination based on national origin and other protected classes) to supervisory and managerial employees for a two-year decree.

The suit, which the EEOC initiated in July 2015, alleged a director for Columbine’s New Mercer Commons facility told a staff member that the facility should get rid of “these people because they just can’t speak English.” This statement was about employees from Ethiopia or Sudan.

This case was handled by the EEOC because Columbine Management had 15 or more employees. If an employer has between 4 and 14 employees, the Immigrant and Employee Rights (IER) Section of the Department of Justice has jurisdiction over the national origin discrimination claim.

This settlement is another example of how employers need to provide training to their supervisory and managerial staff on avoidance of national origin discrimination as well as other types of discrimination. For more information on avoiding national origin discrimination and unfair documentary practices related to employer immigration compliance, I invite you to read my new book, The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, which is available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.