Female driver settles bias complaint with Howard trash hauler

April 23, 1991|By Michael J. Clark | Michael J. Clark,Howard County Bureau of The Sun

A woman who filed a discrimination complaint alleging that she was frequently harassed and finally fired from her job as a garbage truck driver because she is a woman has accepted an undisclosed financial settlement of her case.

Dawn Munday, 32, of Glen Burnie filed the complaint in June 1989 with the Howard County Human Rights Commission against Waste Management of Maryland Inc.,which employed her as a $38,000-a-year driver at its Elkridge yard.

She received the backing of the county's Office of Human Rights, which found "reasonable cause" to believe she was a victim of discrimination. Waste Management contested that finding, and the issue was before the commission when a settlement was announced yesterday.

Ms. Munday was seeking $45,000 in back pay and had turned down an offer to return to her old job, where she worked from December1986 to May 1989. She was fired after walking off the job during a dispute over the condition of the company trucks.

Ms. Munday maintained that she was verbally abused and the subject of sexual jokes by male co-workers at the plant, where she was the only woman among 10 drivers. She also complained that she had to pick up her truck keys and work assignments from the men's bathroom-locker room.

While Ms. Munday would not reveal the terms of her settlement, she said, "I would not agree to anything that was not beneficial to me or other minorities."

"I will continue to be a lady trucker," she added, although she would not say whether she intended to take her old job back.

Phillips O'Shaughnessy, the attorney representing the trash-hauling company, said the "settlement means everything is resolved. Ms. Munday is happy, and Waste Management and the Howard County Office of Human Rights are happy."

Mr. O'Shaughnessy said Waste Management continued to deny that it fired Ms. Munday because she was a woman, adding that even though the company currently had no female drivers, "Anyone who wants to apply can."

"It is our contention that she was fired after she left the workplace when vehicles were available for her to use," he said.

Mr. O'Shaughnessy said the trash hauling company had taken steps to install a separate locker room for women "so everybody has separate but equal facilities."

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