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Press Release 06-08-2023

EEOC Sues Hobe Sound Nursing Home for Refusal to Hire Haitian Applicant

Woman Subjected to Racist ‘Voodoo’ Comments Based Upon Her National Origin Prior to Having Her Job Offer Revoked, Federal Agency Charges

MIAMI – A Hobe Sound, Florida residential assisted living and rehabilitation facility violated federal law when it subjected a Haitian to national origin discrimination, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged in a lawsuit it filed today.

According to the EEOC lawsuit, a Haitian applicant applied for an open nursing home administrator position at The Terrace at Hobe Sound. After interviewing for the position with the then-acting administrator, she was offered the job and a start date.

As the start date approached, the applicant was asked to meet with the companies’ owner. At this meeting, the applicant was asked if she was Haitian and when she responded “yes,” the owner said that he was worried she would favor Haitian employees and began making comments about “voodoo” and “other Haitian rituals.” The owner even described a story where a former administrator found a voodoo doll in front of her office after she disciplined a Haitian employee. The next day, the applicant received an email retracting her job offer.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed its suit against the facility’s owners and operators, Hobe Sound OPCO, LLC and Hobe Sound Realty Holdings, LLC (Civil Action No. 6:23-cv-01078) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its concili­ation process. The EEOC seeks monetary damages for the prospective employee, including front pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief against the companies to prevent such unlawful conduct in the future.

“Discrimination against Haitians has long created barriers to their finding higher-paying employment in the U.S. labor market,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Robert E. Weisberg. “By prosecuting claims like these, the EEOC reinforces its commitment to correcting long-held prejudices against Haitians in the workplace.”

Evangeline Hawthorne, the EEOC’s Miami district director, added, “No person should ever have to endure harassment, discrimination or abuse when applying for a job because of the color of their skin or the country of their birth. The EEOC will continue to be vigilant in its efforts to identify employers who discriminate on the basis of national origin and will work to protect equal access to employment for all people.”

For more information on national origin discrimination, please visit

The EEOC Miami District Office’s jurisdiction includes Florida, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.