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South Dakota agency denies claims of discrimination

SIOUX FALLS (AP) -- South Dakota's Department of Social Services is denying claims of racial discrimination against Native Americans who applied for jobs at the agency's office on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

SIOUX FALLS (AP) - South Dakota's Department of Social Services is denying claims of racial discrimination against Native Americans who applied for jobs at the agency's office on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

The state agency says in a response to a federal lawsuit that it was unaware of the race of the applicants because it doesn't request that information from job candidates.

The federal Justice Department sued the state agency last month. The lawsuit says that over a two-year period beginning in 2010, social services hired 11 people who are white and only one Native American, and removed other openings entirely.

The lawsuit says that about 40 percent of applications for specialist positions came from Native Americans.

The court has ordered both parties to meet by Jan. 4 to discuss the case.

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