Discrimination Suit Alleges ‘Plantation Mentality’ at City Sanitation Department

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NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 05:  Sanitation workers thrrow out debris from a flood damaged home in Oakwood Beach in Staten Island on February 5, 2013 in New York City. In a program proposed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York state could spend up to $400 million to buy out home owners whose properties were destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. The $50.5 billion disaster relief package, which was passed by Congress last month, would be used to fund the program. If the program is adopted, homeowners would be relocated and their land would be left as a natural barrier to help absorb future floods waters.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Photo: Spencer Platt/2013 Getty Images

A group of eleven black and Hispanic supervisors at the Sanitation Department marked Abraham Lincoln's birthday by hitting the city with a class-action discrimination suit, alleging that they've been denied promotions due to their race. While 55 percent of Sanitation workers who are on the street picking up trash are black or Hispanic, the suit claims that only 3 to 5 percent of the top managers are minorities. “We still have a plantation mentality at the Department of Sanitation,” said plaintiff Andrenia Burgis. “They’re in the front and we stand in back.” The group wants to see a freeze in promotions until a more fair system is put into place and is seeking $1 million each in damages.