Press Release 03-31-2021

EEOC Sues DBBH Holdings for Retaliatory Discharge

David’s Trash Service Unlawfully Fired Driver for Discrimination Complaints, Federal Agency Charges

RALEIGH, N.C. – Washington, N.C.-based DBBH Holdings, Inc., operating as David’s Trash Service, violated federal law when it fired female driver Danielle Spruill for complaining about sex discrimination, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC’s complaint, Danielle Spruill began working for David’s Trash Service as a driver in May 2016. During her employment, Spruill complained to the office and general managers that the shop manager was making derogatory comments about her sex and sexual orientation. The company failed to adequately address Spruill’s complaints and the conduct continued. In mid-January 2018, Spruill reported the conduct to the president of David’s Trash Service and asked if he was aware of the EEOC and the laws against harassment.

Several weeks later, the company president fired Spruill, stating that the termination was in part because Spruill threatened the company with involving the EEOC. The EEOC argues that the other reasons given by David’s Trash Service for the termination of Spruill’s employment were pretextual, and that the company in fact fired Spruill in retaliation for engaging in activity protected by the law.

Retaliating against an employee for raising issues of discrimination and asserting her right to pursue related legal remedies violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. DBBH Holdings, Inc., d/b/a David’s Trash Service, Civil Action No.: 4:21-cv-00037) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process. The EEOC seeks monetary relief for Spruill, including back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages, and reinstatement to her position as a driver. The EEOC also seeks injunctive relief from the company to resolve any ongoing workplace harassment, and to prevent such harassment and retaliatory conduct in the future.

“Employees have a legal right to work in an environment free from unlawful discriminatory conduct and harassment,” said Melinda Dugas, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District.   “Employees who believe they have been discriminated against or harassed have a right to raise those issues with their employer, and they have a right to do so without fear of losing their jobs or experiencing another form of retaliation. Employers who retaliate against employees who assert their legal rights must be held accountable for their actions, and it is the EEOC’s responsibility to secure that accountability. Title VII protects employees who make such complaints from adverse employment actions, and the EEOC is proud to enforce that law.”

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.