Morning Briefing - January 11, 2018
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January 11, 2018

Deadlines Extended in DOE Contractor Discrimination Case

By ExchangeMonitor

The liquid waste contractor for the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site and a former employee have received additional time to produce names and contact information for potential witnesses in a discrimination suit against the company.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Paige Gossett on Wednesday granted the joint request submitted five days earlier by plaintiff Adrienne Saulsberry and defendant Savannah River Remediation (SRR).

Saulsberry, an African-American woman, in August 2016 sued her former employer in U.S. District Court in South Carolina, claiming she was terminated in 2013 over her role in an incident that also had racial overtones.

In spring 2013, a white SRR employee was fired after an internal investigation confirmed he had made threats toward then-President Barack Obama while in the presence of African-American co-workers, according to the lawsuit.

Saulsberry, then a radiological first-line manager for SRR, confirmed to management the white employee had made racially motivated comments. Her lawsuit alleges she subsequently faced backlash from other white co-workers who were friends of the fired employee, including a manager who initiated her dismissal. Saulsberry’s departure was part of a planned reduction in force, but her lawsuit says it was used as a cover-up to get rid of her. She is seeking reinstatement, back pay, and payment of her attorney fees from SRR.

Savannah River Remediation denied the claims in September 2016.

In September 2017, Gossett ordered Saulsberry’s attorneys to provide names, phone numbers, and addresses for each person they expect to call as a witness by Jan. 11. Savannah River Remediation was supposed to do the same by Feb. 10. But in a joint request on Jan. 5, the sides said they needed additional time due to the holidays and potential for additional documentation.

They requested a 90-day extension, but Gossett granted each 54 days. Saulsberry must submit her list by March 6, and SRR by April 5.