EEOC sues assisted living facility, claiming illegal firing of immigrants

A Denver assisted living facility is being sued for allegedly discriminating against employees who immigrated from African countries.

New Mercer Commons Assisted Living Facility allegedly fired Ethiopian and Sudanese employees because of a bias against African immigrants, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Monday in filing its lawsuit.

The operator also was accused of implementing a new employment exam that allegedly discriminated against the remaining African employees and their employment opportunities. As part of its formal complaint, the EEOC also claims that a white supervisor was fired after she refused to participate in alleged discriminatory practices against the African employees.

Four employees from Sudan were fired because, they were told, they did not pass the new written exam. This would violate part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits origin discrimination, EEOC officials said. They filed their lawsuit after a failed attempt of resolving the matter privately, they said.

The EEOC seeks monetary damages for losses including emotional distress, and punitive damages for all of the recent immigrant employees fired from New Mercer Commons. They said they hope the lawsuit also would inhibit any possible future discrimination.

A phone call seeking comment from Mercer Commons was not returned Thursday afternoon.