Republic Services to pay nearly $3 million for age discrimination

Republic Services, Inc. and its subsidiary Republic Silver State Disposal, Inc., will pay $2,975,000 and provide other relief to a class of older workers, settling an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced.

According to the EEOC, Phoenix-based Republic terminated and denied job transfer opportunities to about 21 employees over the age of 40 at its facilities in southern Nevada between 2003 and 2005 because of their age. The list of terminated employees includes garbage collectors, drivers and supervisors, some of whom were employed by the company for more than 25 years. The EEOC contends that those jobs were then offered to younger employees who were subsequently held to lower performance standards. The EEOC further charged that Republic engaged in a form of hazing called “break him off,” in which some employees were worked to the point of exhaustion, often making it difficult for them to do their jobs.

The EEOC originally filed suit against Republic in 2004 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada consolidated with Robert LaRocca and William Lacy v. Republic Services, Inc. arguing that the alleged conduct was a direct violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA).

Aside from the monetary relief, the parties entered into a three-year consent decree requiring Republic to:

  • Designate a corporate equal employment opportunity compliance officer;
  • Conduct an audit of its employment policies and procedures;
  • Provide annual anti-discrimination training to its employees;
  • Closely track any future discrimination complaints to conform to its obligations under the ADEA; and
  • Provide annual reports to the EEOC regarding its employment practices.