The Savannah River Site’s liquid waste contractor was under no obligation to rehire a former employee, the company wrote in a recent letter objecting to a magistrate judge’s opinion in a 2016 lawsuit.
Savannah River Remediation (SRR) added that it did not discriminate against former employee Adrienne Saulsberry, who is black, when it opted not to hire her and instead hired two white employees for a position she had also applied for.
SRR and Saulsberry objected on May 30 to Magistrate Judge Margaret Gossett’s March 28 reports and recommendations. Saulsberry sued the contractor in South Carolina District Court in August 2016, three years after she was laid off during a company-wide workforce reduction. She was a first line manager at the time.
SRR wants District Court Judge Michelle Childs to reject Gossett’s findings and grant its motion for a dismissal of the case. Saulsberry want Childs to adopt Gossett’s finding and proceed with the case. Magistrate judges sometimes provide outside opinions on district court suits.
Saulsberry contends she was let go because she had previously reported a fellow employee who had made racially-insensitive comments. Furthermore, she said was not considered for rehire when two first line managers positions became available in May 2014. Her team wrote in the lawsuit that race also played a role in the lack of consideration, adding that her experience and competency test scores were better than the individuals selected for hire.
Saulsberry is seeking reinstatement, back pay, and payment of her legal fees by SRR.
The parties will next meet in Child’s court on June 25 to further argue their objections. After that, Childs is expected to make a decision, though there is no timetable for when she will rule.
Savannah River Remediation is a partnership of AECOM, Bechtel National, CH2M, and BWX Technologies. The company is cleaning up the site’s liquid waste under a contract awarded in 2009 and worth around $6 billion. The company remains on the job through Sept. 30, 2020 under a recent contract extension.