- Associated Press - Friday, February 5, 2016

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - A woman is suing the parent company of a Rapid City halfway house, alleging she was discriminated and retaliated against while she was employed by the facility because she is not American Indian.

Last week, Alicia Cline filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court against New Jersey-based Community Education Centers, the parent of Community Alternatives of the Black Hills, the Rapid City Journal (https://bit.ly/1L2Z8ju ) reported. Cline, who is white, worked at the halfway house from 2009 until she was fired in 2015.

Cline contends in court documents that a supervisor became more critical and confrontational toward her when he learned she was not of Native American descent, and that he also removed some of her responsibilities. The supervisor “also made other racial comments toward Cline,” including the supervisor’s vision of hiring only Native American employees at Community Alternatives of the Black Hills, the complaint said.

Cline reported the supervisor’s comments to a number of people, eventually working up the corporate chain of command, and then was disciplined for a separate matter, later “inexplicably suspended without pay,” and finally fired for gross misconduct and other reasons when she was the facility’s deputy director, according to the complaint.

Cline filed discrimination charges with the state Department of Labor and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but both agencies rejected her claim.

A spokesman for Community Education Centers said company officials hadn’t yet received the lawsuit and had no comment.

Cline’s attorney, Kassie McKie Shiffermiller, said this week that neither she nor Cline would comment publicly on the lawsuit.

Cline is seeking unspecified money damages.

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, https://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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