Protest Alleges Racial Harassment at Recology Recycling Facility in San Francisco - NBC Bay Area
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Protest Alleges Racial Harassment at Recology Recycling Facility in San Francisco

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    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MARCH 15: Hundreds of recycled plastic water bottles are piled up inside the Recology recycling facility on March 15, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The multi-million dollar bottled water industry continues to prosper despite outrage from environmentalists who point out that at least half of the empty bottles end up in landfills instead of being recycled. Environmental groups are encouraging people to use reusable containers and get their water from the tap which is safe to drink in over 90 percent of the United States. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

    A group rallied at San Francisco's dump today in support of allegations of racial harassment made by a Recology employee against the company and a coworker.

    Daryle Washington, a Recology sorter, alleges that in 2013 he and other employees witnessed a white employee place a noose on a coworker's belongings, a gesture he and others interpreted as a racial threat against the black worker.

    Washington has filed a racial harassment suit in U.S. District Court, saying the company gave the alleged offender a light punishment and then ignored his requests to be placed in a different unit than the offender.

    Steve Zeltzer, a spokesman for United Public Workers for Action, the group organizing today's event, said Washington wanted the company to apologize to him and change their policies regarding how they handle racist incidents.

    Zeltzer alleged the company retaliated against Washington for being a whistleblower. He said that Washington has been out on disability leave due to stress caused by the incident.

    Recology issued a statement from Human Resources Manager Varessa Scott denying the allegations.

    Scott said the company took immediate action on the complaint when it was made and disciplined the employee involved "within the terms of the collective bargaining agreements."

    "The claims made at the protest simply do not match the reality of what occurred," Scott said. "No bullying has been reported or witnessed by anyone and there has been no retaliation of any kind."

    Zeltzer said Washington has also written letters to city officials regarding the incident, given that Recology provides garbage service under a city contract, but has so far received no response.

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