Judge Says State Agency Discriminated In Reservation Office

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A federal judge has ruled that South Dakota’s Department of Social Services routinely discriminated against Native American job applicants at its Pine Ridge office over a five-year period ending in 2013.
    
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Viken recently sided with federal Justice Department attorneys on the second part of a two-part lawsuit that argued the state agency violated the federal Civil Rights Act.
    
Attorneys for the state had argued that no statewide policy of hiring discrimination could be proven by looking just at Pine Ridge. They noted that Social Services had 64 offices in South Dakota during the time frame the lawsuit addressed. Viken rejected the argument.
    
The lawsuit’s first part involves specific claims by people and is headed to trial.
 

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