SRS Sign SRR (copy)

An entrance to the Savannah River Site, about 30 minutes south of Aiken. Savannah River Remediation is the liquid-waste contractor there.

Savannah River Remediation is facing another discrimination lawsuit.

An Aiken County man in late September sued the Savannah River Site liquid-waste contractor, alleging the company discriminated against him because of his age, costing him a significant sum of money.

Jeffery Risher, 59, first filed his legal complaint in Aiken County court. The matter has since been transferred to federal court.

Risher accused Savannah River Remediation of unfairly removing him from his shift technical engineer role and replacing him with a younger engineer with less experience and potentially lesser qualifications. The contractor pulled the same maneuver on a trio of other older employees, according to the complaint, which includes a formatted table of ages, dates and initials.

"Plaintiff has also heard higher-level management employees complain about the average age of SRR's workforce at the Savannah River nuclear site being over 50," Risher's complaint reads.

The average age of an SRR employee is now 48, according to SRR's fiscal year 2019 report. That's down from 54 in 2009 when the contractor first got on the job.

Savannah River Remediation on Oct. 29 responded to and widely rejected Risher's initial filing.

Risher was first hired by an SRR predecessor in early 1993. He began working as a shift technical engineer – the position he alleges he was wrongly removed from – in 1998.

Risher filed a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in October 2018, according to the September complaint. The commission issued a right-to-sue notice, more or less standard practice, in August.

The EEOC enforces federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a person due to race, religion, sex and age, among other factors.

A jury trial has been requested. Risher is seeking back pay, front pay if reinstatement isn't suitable, interest, a tax offset, damages and legal fees.

Savannah River Remediation, led by AECOM, is in charge the SRS liquid waste mission: handling and processing millions of gallons of nuclear waste currently stored in aging, underground tanks. The contractor recently received a $750 million contract extension.

Colin Demarest covers the Savannah River Site, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Nuclear Security Administration and government in general. Follow him on Twitter: @demarest_colin