The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit against subsidiaries of Republic Services on Friday, accusing the company of discriminating against female applicants.
The EEOC filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri against Allied Waste Services of the Ozarks, a subsidiary of Allied Services owned by Republic. The suit follows two other recent employment discrimination cases the commission filed against GFL Environmental and Waste Pro. GFL was sued for similar issues.
Republic declined to comment on the specifics of the case in an emailed statement, but an unnamed spokesperson said that the company affirms its "long-standing commitment to hiring practices that are free from discrimination.”
In its suit against Republic, the EEOC said that a woman applied for a role as a front loader driver at Republic's Springfield, Missouri, location. The commission alleges that when interviewed for the position about a month later, male interviewers said that previous female drivers had left, and that they'd need to build a shower facility for the applicant.
The interviewer told the applicant to go home and "think seriously about whether she wanted the job" and talk to her husband about it first, the suit alleges.
Despite the applicant calling and texting the interviewer the next day saying she wanted the position, she was not hired and a male driver with less experience was hired instead. She also applied again for truck driver positions at Republic multiple times via online job listings, but was never interviewed again. The EEOC alleges the applicant’s experience was part of a broader intentional pattern of discrimination at the location.
Republic had a female driver on staff at that location in just one year of the preceding four years leading up to the case, according to the EEOC. That's despite having 54 to 59 male drivers on staff over the same period, and 9.5% of the local labor market for the position being female.
Across Republic Services, women make up a little over 3% of operatives, an employment category that includes drivers, according to the company’s 2022 equal employment opportunity report. In a February 2018 earnings call, then-CEO Don Slager said the company would spend money to upgrade some of its locker rooms, citing a rising number of female drivers.
The EEOC said it informed Republic Services that it found reasonable cause to believe the company had violated Title VII on Sept. 9, 2022, but the two sides were unable to come to a conciliation agreement by this summer. The EEOC is seeking back pay and other relief for the applicant and other women harmed by the alleged pattern of discrimination. It's also seeking an injunction forcing Republic to change its hiring practices to prevent discrimination.