Noose allegations draw Recology protesters

A group rallied at San Francisco’s dump Monday¬†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. … 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.