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Race Discrimination Class Action Against New York City Department of Sanitation

A race discrimination case has been brought by a group of 11 Black and Hispanic supervisors against the New York City Sanitation Department. According to the suit, the employees are alleging that they have been denied promotions because of their race and subjected to a discrimination "plantation" culture.

In the race discrimination class action suit brought in Manhattan Federal Court, the employees alleged that while 55% of street-level Sanitation workers are Black or Hispanic, that proportion does not exist within management. According to the Complaint, just 3% to 5% of the top supervisors are minorities.

Andrenia Burgis, a veteran black employee joined her fellow plaintiffs at a Press Conference after the filing and saying "They're in the front and we stand in the back." Burgis, who has worked for the Agency since 1998 says she has been passed over for a promotion to superintendent level 2 for three years. Such promotions are decided based on the discretion of the bosses. According to Burgis "It' s not about merit. It's about who you know and what color your skin is and that's so unfair."

Another plaintiff says that she was the first female ever to be promoted to superintendent. But since that 2007 promotion she has hit a glass ceiling. Supervisor Chris Burgos says he has received numerous write-ups for "frivolous complaints" as he gets closer to being promoted to superintendent. He says that if you have write-ups in your file, they have the right skip you over. According to Burgos "That's the box that they're putting me in."

The suit was intentionally filed on Abraham Lincoln's birthday to make a point about the 14th Amendment, which was enacted after the Civil War, guaranteeing equal protection under the law regardless of race.

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