Nursing home suspends black employees with pay following alleged resident sexual assault

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Editor's note: The employees suspended by Southgate Manor's management were reinstated late Thursday. The investigation is ongoing and has been expanded to another area nursing home where the resident had lived prior to being admitted to Southgate Manor.

Officials at a Detroit-area nursing home suspended a number of black male employees after a female resident said she was raped by a black man, according to local reports.

The nursing home, Southgate Manor, is located in Southgate, MI. Reginald Hartsfield, president and owner of Southgate Manor's operator, Advantage Medical Group, said his company is following the nursing home's regulations after a sexual assault.

"We have to do a thorough investigation, and when there's an allegation … you have to follow the regulations," Hartsfield told the Detroit News. "Anybody that could have come in contact with that resident we have to suspend with pay until we complete the investigation."

Citing privacy regulations, details concerning the resident's age and race were not available, according to local reports.

The alleged attack was reported on Monday. Hartsfield told the newspaper that he was uncertain how many employees were suspended. Legal experts consulted by local news outlets offered differing views on the legality of the broad suspension.

Law professor Larry Dubin, from the University of Detroit Mercy, told the Detroit News that the nursing home's decision is not out of line.

"If their suspension with pay of certain employees is to facilitate a police investigation without in any way making false accusations about any of their employees, they would be acting in a reasonable manner," Dubin said.

However, a legal analyst for the local Fox TV station said the suspended employees could have a strong case for a lawsuit because their suspension was based on race.

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