Hauler Says She Was Dumped On

Riviera Woman Suing Trash-hauling Company For Sex Discrimination

March 20, 1991|By Arthur Hirsch | Arthur Hirsch,Staff writer

A Riviera Beach woman has demanded more than $45,000 in back pay from a Howard County trash-hauling company, claiming she was harassed byco-workers and supervisors and dismissed unfairly from her truck driver's job because of her sex.

Dawn Munday claims she became the subject of verbal abuse and sexual jokes and was forced to pick up her truck keys and work assignments from the men's bathroom-locker room at Waste Management of Maryland Inc.'s Elkridge truck yard.

Munday, who was the only female truck driver at Elkridge, claims she was unfairly fired May 30, 1989. The firm claims Munday was dismissed because she violated company policy by leaving work without permission.

"She was dismissed because she took it upon herself to determine her work hours and her work conditions," Phil O'Shaughnessy, alawyer for Waste Management, told a hearing panel of the Howard County Human Rights Commission on Monday night.

He added that Munday has been offered reinstatement several times and refused.

Munday, 30, is represented by the Howard County Office of Human Rights and itslawyer, James Henson. Henson told the three-member panel that Mundaywas subjected to a "hostile work environment" where she was "treatedless favorably than similarly situated males."

Munday said she showed up for work shortly after midnight May 30, 1989, only to find that of the three trucks parked in the yard, one was full of trash, onewas about half-full and a third needed repair. Company practice heldthat trucks were to be emptied of trash before being returned to theyard.

She said she left the yard, telling the dispatcher to call her at home when the disabled truck was repaired.

The dispatcher, John Utterback, testified Monday night that Munday was "in a huff" about the condition of the trucks. He said he advised her it was "in her best interest" to wait for the mechanic. He said when he called herat home at about 2:30 a.m. to tell her the empty truck was repaired and ready, she was not in.

When she called in shortly after 8 a.m., the operations manager told her she was "90 percent dismissed," Henson said. She did not return to work after that.

The nine-member commission is being asked to decide Munday's claim for her salary fromthe time she was fired. As of Monday night the figure stood at $45,471. The four-hour hearing was adjourned until April 8.

Munday, whois not working,said she had worked for Waste Management since December 1986. She told the panel about several incidents of verbal abuse.One driver had said he did not want a woman driving the truck to which he was assigned, she said.

She said that the route supervisor, Fred Heider, also made several nasty remarks for which the general manager eventually wrote a letter of apology. The general manager left the letter for Munday in the men's room, Munday said.

Several witnesses testified that they'd heard a rumor that Munday had had sex with another employee in the men's room. One witness characterized it asa joke.

Several witnesses said that on occasion they helped Munday by going into the men's room to pick up her keys and route assignments. Work assignments and keys were hung on a board within view of the urinals, toilets and shower stall.

Munday said she used a bathroom in the office, but the key was held by the dispatcher, who was notalways available. She said she asked the company to set up a portable toilet at the yard. It was never done, she said.

O'Shaughnessy acknowledged that the company did not have equal facilities for men and women in Elkridge when Munday worked there. He said it has since taken steps to correct that by setting up a special trailer in the yard.

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