Federal judge denies U.S. Sugar's try to dismiss dump operator's racial discrimination suit

By Shanice Harris | Mar 22, 2019

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida has denied a defendant's motion to dismiss a case in an ongoing legal battle after the plaintiffs allege they were wrongfully terminated due to their race.

Senior U.S. District Judge John Steele denied the defendant's motion to dismiss.

In 2016, plaintiff Jason Ifill, who is African-American, was terminated from his job as a dump operator for the U.S. Sugar Corporation in Clewiston. In January 2016, Ifill complained about his white supervisor, T. J. Graham, alleging he gossiped about his divorce. Ifill says he confronted the defendant but alleges Graham threatened to fire him if he made a formal complaint to human resources.

Ifill went to HR anyway, saying he felt unsafe around the defendant. Ifill says HR didn't do much about his complaint and, in fact, "'informed [Ifill] that he was eligible for three weeks of vacation and suggested that he take [the full three weeks]' to de-escalate the situation," according to court documents.

Photo by Zac Nielson on Unsplash

While on vacation, Ifill says he was informed that he was fired. Ifill filed a charge of discrimination in October 2016. U.S. Sugar argues the plaintiff did not file his complaint within the 90 days required, but the court disagreed.

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