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Tennessee woman to challenge no-rehire, confidentiality and non-compete clauses in sexual harassment case against GFL Environmental

Our former employee of a publicly-traded, Toronto-based waste management company is suing the company for telling her that she would have to resign and “agree” to never work for the company again if she wanted compensation for being sexually harassed on the job.

Ms. Heather Cummins – who was hired by Waste Industries, in 2018, before it was acquired by GFL Environmental (NYSE: GFL) – filed a discrimination lawsuit against the company on June 22, 2021, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. In her complaint, Ms. Cummins alleges that, immediately after she was hired for a sales position in Clarksville, Tennessee, her general manager, Chad Keelean, sexually harassed her, propositioned her, and asked her to send pictures of herself to him, over the course of approximately eight months. Ms. Cummins states that when she rejected Keelean’s advances, he would gaslight her by saying that he was “just joking,” and brag about his clout in the industry.

Ms. Cummins further alleges that when she complained to GFL, the company offered to compensate her but, in exchange, she would have to:

  • ‘agree’ to resign from her job;
  • ‘agree’ to never work for the company again;
  • abide by a non-compete agreement; and,
  • agree to strict confidentiality.

Keelean, on the other hand, was allowed to depart from GFL without a non-compete agreement. In fact, Keelean has since built his own waste disposal company in the same region as GFL.

Ms. Cummins, a Tennessee native and married mother of three children, says she filed a lawsuit because, “GFL attempted to punish me for its own failures. Rather than protect me, it resorted to an attempt to silence me, ruin my career, and destroy my livelihood. These kinds of ‘agreements’ are archaic, should be illegal and against public policy.”

Ms. Cummins is represented by Chicago-based attorney Tamara Holder who focuses her practice on institutional abuse and multi-plaintiff litigation. She is a nationally recognized voice on workplace equality and worked as progressive legal analyst and host on Fox News Channel for nearly a decade. If you have information about GFL Environmental that you believe may help our case, please contact us. 312-818-3850 or contact@tamaraholder.com

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