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Schools Have Beef With Navajos

PRESCOTT, Ariz. (CN) - Two public school districts that operate on the Navajo reservation say the tribe has no right to step in, as it has done, to try to rescind the firing of four school employees. Red Mesa and Cedar Unified School Districts sued the Navajo Nation Labor Commission in Federal Court.

Red Mesa says defendant Sara Yellowhair was its business manager until they fired her for "numerous financial and business-related discrepancies with Red Mesa's records, all of which directly arose from Yellowhair's failure to fulfill her job responsibilities, and which resulted in violations of state law, administrative regulations, and District policy."

The three other former employees - a business office worker, a mechanic and a secretary - were fired after allegedly watching pornography on school computers.

The tribe claimed the firings violated the Navajo Preference in Employment Act, which "dictates that employers may not fire Navajo employees without 'just cause,'" the schools say.

The schools seek a ruling that the Navajo Nation Labor Commission and Navajo trial courts do not have jurisdiction in this case, and an injunction barring further prosecution in tribal courts because of this lack of jurisdiction.

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