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Baltimore County pays man $30,000 who alleged boss at landfill used racial slurs

Baltimore County will pay a former landfill employee $30,000 after he alleged in a federal lawsuit that he endured a racist supervisor who also moved him to a different work location in retaliation.

According to court records, the county issued an “Offer of Judgment” to Jonathan Gwynn in June, essentially choosing not to defend themselves against the allegations and to allow the court to find in Gwynn’s favor.

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Gwynn, a Black man who worked at a county landfill from September 2005 through March 2014, alleged in January that his boss at the time, James Dawson, “routinely” used racist language and “made derogatory racial jokes and slurs about black people” while he was the acting landfill manager in 2012 and 2013.

Through the agreement, the court ruled that the county fostered a hostile work environment and that Gwynn was subjected to wrongful retaliatory demotion when he was moved to a different location toward the end of his employment.

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Gwynn’s attorney, Gregg Mosson, said the county’s offer is “rare” in such cases, especially given that the lawsuit was only filed earlier this year.

He pointed to the fact the lawsuit included people other than Gwynn alleging that Dawson was openly racist on the job. Co-worker Ann Dixon, a white female equipment operator at the landfill from 2007 through 2013 wrote in an 2017 affidavit included in the lawsuit that Dawson “used the [n-word] daily.”

“The litigation has been resolved and the County does not have further comment,” county spokesman Sean Naron wrote in a statement.

Dawson could not immediately be reached.

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