For more information please call  800.727.2766


Waste Management Company Sued for Racial Discrimination

A Black former employee of Waste Management (“WM”) filed a lawsuit alleging his supervisor and coworkers discriminated against him because of race. Just a few weeks later, another WM employee, who is Pacific Islander, also filed suit alleging racism.

Robert Smith filed the first lawsuit when WM terminated him after 13 years of employment. He claims he was subjected to racial harassment while working as the lead heavy equipment operator in Kansas. In his federal complaint, Smith said his coworkers used the term “Yessum Boss” when speaking to him. He said his supervisor addressed him as “bitch,” danced around him mockingly, and played racially derogatory videos. Smith found a document taped to his locker that said, “Give a black man a fish and he will eat for a day. Give a black man a free cell phone, food stamps, section 8 housing, a six-pack of beer and he’ll vote Democrat the rest of his life.” Smith complained about the race-based conduct as well as about safety concerns. He alleges the company did not investigate his complaint and dismissed his safety issues. After an equipment collision between him and a white employee, the company fired Smith. The company did not fire the white employee.

Kauli Saili worked for WM as a heavy machine operator for about 5 years. He claims supervisors asked him to work longer hours than the white operators. When Smith’s employment ended, Saili asked to be promoted to lead. Saili did not see the job posted or receive an opportunity to apply. WM promoted a white male. This employee worked for the company less than a year, and Saili had trained him. The promoted employee purportedly told Saili the company did not promote him because “he was out on family and medical leave too often.” Saili asserts he went out on leave due to stress from the white employee’s promotion, and his leave should be protected under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Waste Management did not respond publicly after Saili filed his lawsuit. However, after Smith filed his lawsuit, the company stated it did not discriminate against Smith and defended its decision to fire him.