RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against the South Dakota Department of Social Services alleging that it repeatedly discriminated against well-qualified Native American job applicants because of their race.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Rapid City states that over two years beginning in 2010, the state agency posted 18 specialist vacancies for its office on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, receiving nearly 40 percent of its applications from Native Americans. But, federal authorities say, the department hired 11 people who are white and only one Native American, and removed six other openings entirely.

The department's spokeswoman didn't immediately return a phone message seeking comment on the complaint.

The lawsuit asks the court to order the department to adopt a selection process that complies with federal law.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More From KXRB