US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Solid Waste Company Discriminated Against 21 Over-40 Employees, EEOC Charged
LAS VEGAS — Republic Services, Inc. and its subsidiary Republic Silver State Disposal, Inc., will pay $2,975,000 and provide other relief to a class of older workers, settling an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to the EEOC, Phoenix-based Republic terminated and denied job transfer opportunities to about 21 employees over the age of 40 at its facilities in southern Nevada between 2003 and 2005 because of their age. The list of terminated employees includes garbage collectors, drivers, and supervisors, some of whom were employed by the company for more than 25 years. The EEOC contends that those jobs were then offered to younger employees who were subsequently held to lower performance standards. The EEOC further charged that Republic engaged in a form of hazing called “break him off,” in which some employees were worked to the point of exhaustion, often making it difficult for them to do their jobs.
The EEOC originally filed suit against Republic in 2004 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada (U.S. EEOC v. Republic Services, Inc., et al., CV04-1352-DAE (LRL) consolidated with Robert LaRocca and William Lacy v. Republic Services, Inc. et al., CV 04-1479-DAE (LRL), arguing that the alleged conduct was a direct violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA).
“No one should be harassed at work or forced out of a job for discriminatory reasons,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien. “The law clearly prohibits mistreatment or dismissal of older workers on account of their age, and no workplace should lose productive and valuable employees because of illegal age stereotyping.”
“Our hope is that other employers implement practices to ensure that age stereotyping does not occur in any facet of employment,” said P. David Lopez, General Counsel of the EEOC. “As illustrated by this settlement, the EEOC will insist on substantial and meaningful relief for victims of illegal age discrimination.”
Aside from the monetary relief, the parties entered into a three-year consent decree requiring Republic to:
Designate a corporate equal employment opportunity compliance officer;
Conduct an audit of its employment policies and procedures;
Provide annual anti-discrimination training to its employees;
Closely track any future discrimination complaints to conform to its obligations under the ADEA; and
Provide annual reports to the EEOC regarding its employment practices.
“We appreciate the great efforts that Republic has made and will continue to make to ensure that age is not a factor in the workplace,” said Anna Park, Regional Attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office whose jurisdiction includes Nevada. “Although employers may assume that younger employees are more efficient and less costly, this is simply not true.”
According to its website, www.republicservices.com, Republic employs approximately 31,000 employees and is a leading provider in the solid waste industry offering waste collection services for commercial, industrial, municipal, and residential customers through more than 375 collection companies in 42 states and Puerto Rico, 223 transfer stations, 192 solid waste landfills and 78 recycling facilities.
The EEOC is the federal agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at www.eeoc.gov.