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Sega of America and a temporary staffing agency have settled a suit with the government alleging that they discriminated against Filipino workers. The consent decree, announced by the San Francisco office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Thursday, settles claims that the companies fired 12 Filipino game testers because of their national origin. Without admitting guilt, the companies agreed to pay $600,000 and to conduct anti-discrimination training. According to the suit, filed in San Francisco district court in 2002, Sega instructed its temp agency, Spherion Corp., to immediately terminate all contract game testers with Filipino-sounding names. The blanket dismissal came after a recently fired Sega employee threatened to sue the company for giving Filipino workers preferential treatment. “This was very clear cut, there wasn’t even any pretext,” said EEOC district Director Joan Ehrlich. “They just said get rid of all the Filipinos.” Sega also terminated four friends of the employee who made the preferential treatment allegations, resulting in a retaliation charge as well. Sega did not return a call. Spherion released a statement saying that it settled with the EEOC “despite the fact that no findings were made on the allegations raised in the lawsuit. Spherion is an equal opportunity employer and the company continues to deny that it engaged in any wrongdoing whatsoever.” According to the EEOC announcement, national origin discrimination is one of the fastest-growing types of charges filed with the agency, increasing 28 percent between 1995 to 2002. Under the terms of the settlement, Sega will pay $456,000, and Spherion will pay $144,000. According to Ehrlich, each worker will receive between $30,000 and $40,000.

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