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Federal authorities on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Kaplan Higher Education Corp. for allegedly discriminating against black job applicants by screening the credit history of potential employees.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says the practice of rejecting job seekers based on their credit history has a discriminatory impact on some racial and ethnic groups. The lawsuit alleges that Kaplan’s practice is not job-related or justified by business necessity.

The lawsuit seeks lost wages, benefits and offers of employment for people who were not hired because of the company’s credit history screening procedures.

Kaplan spokeswoman Michele Pore said the company has a diverse work force and does not discriminate. She said the company conducts background checks on all potential employees, including checking credit histories of applicants whose duties would include financial matters.

The EEOC said it tried to reach a voluntary settlement with Kaplan before filing the lawsuit in federal district court in Cleveland.

Kaplan is a unit of Washington Post Co.

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