Worker Says Hauler Dumped On Women

March 20, 1991|By Arthur Hirsch | Arthur Hirsch,Contributing 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 sole woman 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, a lawyer for Waste Management, told a county Human Rights Commission hearing panel on Monday night.

He added that Munday has been offeredreinstatement several times and refused.

Munday, 30, is represented by the county Office of Human Rights and its lawyer, James Henson.He told the three-member panel that Munday was subjected to a "hostile work environment" where she was "treated less 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, one was about half-full and athird needed repair. Company practice held that trucks were to be emptied of trash before being returned to the yard.

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 her at home 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 toldher 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 from the time she was fired. As of Monday night the figure stood at $45,471. The four-hour hearing wasadjourned until April 8.

Munday, who is not working, said she worked for Waste Management from December 1986 to May 1989.

She toldthe panel about several incidents of alleged verbal abuse. One driver had said he did not want a woman driving the truck to which he was assigned, she said.

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