The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

PRESS RELEASE
9-29-09

SUNNY FARMS LANDFILL SUED BY EEOC FOR RACIAL HARASSMENT AND RETALIATION AGAINST BLACK WORKERS

FOSTORIA, Ohio -- Sunny Farms Landfill subjected its African American employees to race-based harassment and retaliation, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC's suit (Case No. 3:09-CV02239), filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Sunny Farms subjected both Willie Norwood and Toby Shepherd to unlawful racial harassment and retaliation, including allegedly condoning the repeated use of racial slurs by its supervisors and the permanent display of the Confederate flag on its property.

Even though Sunny Farms was aware of the racially hostile work environment, it failed to take steps to rectify the situation, the EEOC said. Further, the company retaliated against employees who complained by giving them harsher and more difficult work assignments and conditions, including longer work hours, the agency said.

Nedra Campbell, an attorney in the EEOC's Detroit Field Office, whose jurisdiction includes Northern Ohio, said, "These employees, the only two African Americans at the landfill, were subjected to a racially hostile work environment perpetuated by their supervisors. Egregious conduct in the form of racial slurs, especially when uttered by supervisors, plainly cannot be tolerated."

Racial discrimination and retaliation violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The EEOC seeks injunctive relief enjoining the company from engaging in race discrimination and retaliation, as well as monetary relief on behalf of Norwood and Shepherd.

Sunny Farms Landfill is a wholly owned subsidiary of Live Earth, LLC, the largest full service solid waste and disposal provider in Ohio.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency's web site at www.eeoc.gov.


This page was last modified on September 29, 2009.

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