Court Decides Sodexo's Racketeering Claims Against Service Employees International Union Will Proceed

Wed Jul 27, 2011 1:16pm EDT

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Court Decides Sodexo's Racketeering Claims Against Service Employees International Union Will Proceed

Decision Clears Way for Sodexo to Present Evidence of Extortion

PR Newswire

GAITHERSBURG, Md., July 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia has ruled that Sodexo's claims of extortion against the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) may proceed under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act. United States District Judge Claude Hilton ruled yesterday that Sodexo "has stated a claim upon which relief can be had". This decision denying the SEIU's motion to dismiss the lawsuit clears the way for Sodexo USA to prove SEIU's orchestrated campaign to carry out threats against Sodexo is illegal.

"The court has validated our decision to file this lawsuit using the federal racketeering statute," said Sodexo General Counsel Robert Stern. "This ruling clears the path to discovery and trial, allowing us to present evidence the SEIU has conspired to extort Sodexo by threatening financial damage unless we cave into its demands. The SEIU's campaign was designed to illegally threaten our company. We will continue to challenge the SEIU's illegal behavior until it ends."

Sodexo filed the civil racketeering lawsuit against the SEIU and other defendants in March 2011 seeking to stop the illegal campaign of extortion that the SEIU has been waging in the U.S. for more than a year. The lawsuit alleges the SEIU engaged in blackmail, vandalism, trespassing, harassment and lobbying law violations, which were designed to steer government and private contracts away from Sodexo in order to damage the Company's business.

The complaint also alleges that the SEIU is trying to force Sodexo into a scheme that would deny its employees the right to vote for or against unionization in a secret-ballot election conducted by the federal government. This scheme would virtually guarantee the SEIU exclusive representation rights over tens of thousands of Sodexo employees and prevent any other employee choice for labor union representation.

"We are committed to protecting our business and the rights of our employees," Stern said. "We believe that pursuing this litigation is in the best interests of our business, employees, and customers, as well as the millions of people we serve each day."

As an industry leader, Sodexo is deeply committed to operating its business responsibly, engaging with local communities and improving the quality of life for its employees across the globe and the millions of people the company serves each day. Sodexo recognizes the value of union activity and has built positive relationships with more than 30 different unions. Over 15 percent of Sodexo USA's workforce is unionized, which is more than twice the national average for the private sector, and the company has more than 300 collective bargaining agreements.

Sodexo, Inc. (, leading Quality of Daily Life Solutions company in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, delivers On Site Service Solutions in Corporate, Education, Health Care, Government, and Remote Site segments, as well as Motivation Solutions such as Esteem Pass. Sodexo, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., funds all administrative costs for the Sodexo Foundation (, an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $15 million in grants to fight hunger in America. Visit the corporate blog at

Key Figures (as of August 31, 2010)

Sodexo in North America
$8.0 billion dollars revenue
120,000 employees
10 million consumers served daily
6,000 sites
700 facilities management sites


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