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Waste Management Sued for Racial Discrimination in Houston

Waste management is the type of industry that you would think has trouble keeping people from quitting. Of course, there are plenty of things that need to happen in the removal and disposal of garbage besides picking it up, which isn't even so bad with the new automated trucks.

So it's not too surprising that someone would sue to keep their job at Waste Management Inc. ("WM"). Which is exactly what Angelia Osborne of Houston did when she felt she was racially discriminated against and wrongfully terminated, according to The Southeast Texas Record.

Osborne was the only African American at her office and claims she was denied access to a training seminar because of her race. Osborne also claims she was constantly maligned by supervisors even though she completed all of her assigned duties and responsibilities, according to the Record.

Will her suit be successful?

The success of a lawsuit depends on whether the facts surrounding an incident fit within the law that the suit is brought under. For a workplace racial-discrimination suit, a victim must show she was fired or disciplined, paid less, not provided benefits or promotions, or improperly classified or segregated because of her race.

If a worker was fired or terminated from a job because of her race, she would have a wrongful termination claim against the company. Wrongful termination allows the worker to get her job back, or replace lost wages between losing the job and getting a new one.

Here, Osborne claims include she was ignored and sometimes ridiculed in meetings, as well as forced out while on funeral leave, according to the Record. She reported her experiences to human resources, but was then terminated during a reduction in force.

This case will turn on what WM has to say about the allegations. As it stands, Osborne has a claim that sounds like she was discriminated against, as long as her treatment was based on her race. Since people rarely admit that they were being racist in their actions, Osborne will need to show evidence that the other employees were treated well while she was treated poorly. She'll also have to show that the reduction in force was a front for firing her.

All of these issues will not be answered until the case enters the discovery phase and Angelia Osborne has access to WM's internal documents. We'll have to wait until then to see how this Waste Management racial discrimination case ends up.

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