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State Paying $350,000 To Settle Claims Of Discrimination Against Native Americans

SD Dept. of Social Services

The state of South Dakota will pay $350,000 to settle allegations that its Department of Social Services discriminated against Native Americans. 

The state and the federal government filed a settlement together on Wednesday in federal court. The settlement resolves a lawsuit the Department of Justice filed against the state in 2015. 

The lawsuit arose from a complaint by a Native American man, the late Cedric Goodman, of Pine Ridge.  

According to the Department of Justice, Goodman applied for a job in 2010 with the Department of Social Service’s Pine Ridge Office. He was qualified and was given an interview, but the job posting was removed. Later, the department re-posted the job and hired a white applicant with lesser qualifications. 

Under the terms of the settlement, Goodman’s estate will receive $10,000. The remaining $340,000 will be split among 60 additional Native Americans who applied for jobs over a number of years. 

In the lawsuit, the Department of Justice alleged that the state office intentionally discriminated against Native Americans in Pine Ridge by repeatedly removing job postings and using subjective, arbitrary hiring practices to disfavor qualified Native American applicants. 

Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband, of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, issued a written statement about the settlement. 

“The Civil Rights Division is committed to enforcing the nation’s anti-discrimination laws on behalf of all Americans, including Native Americans,” the statement said, in part. 

The Department of Social Services did not admit any wrongdoing in the settlement, and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.