AT&T Loses Racial Discrimination Lawsuit
Sales representative awarded more than $400,000
By Renita Burns
12, 2008 -- A Dallas jury ruled AT&T Corp. racially discriminated
against a worker and ordered the telecommunications giant to pay
damages in the lawsuit.
Lakecious Edwards, an AT&T sales representative, was awarded
$411,339 late last month after the jury found race was a motivating
factor in the company’s repeated failure to promote her. The jury also
found that AT&T created a hostile work environment and retaliated
against Edwards when she complained.
“Ms. Edwards and her coworkers suffered pervasive
discrimination and did everything they could to work within AT&T’s
system,” says Stephen Drinnon, Edwards’ attorney.
The telecommunications giant says they had no wrongdoing in the matter.
“We are confident that we have done nothing wrong and we are exploring
our options regarding a possible appeal,” says Marty Richter, an
AT&T spokesman. Furthermore, he says “AT&T has an excellent
track record when it comes to the company’s fair treatment of minority
employees. For AT&T, diversity and inclusion will always be top
According to Drinnon, Edwards was passed over on three separate
occasions for promotions that went to white employees, two of whom were
under disciplinary review. When another job opening was posted, the
same manager falsely told AT&T managers that Edwards was not
interested in the job.
An eight-year-employee of AT&T, Edwards continues to work at the
company. “She continues to fear loosing her job,” Drinnon says.
Drinnon contends that complaints that were filed went through a third
party vendor and weren’t properly investigated. He said the manager
named in the complaints wasn’t interviewed by investigators or
reprimanded for her actions. Subsequently, AT&T ruled “no finding
of discrimination” for nine complaints that had been filed against the
Drinnon says Edwards and others who filed complaints were “never told
that the case had been closed or the conclusion they reached,” he adds.
Also last month, BLACK ENTERPRISE
AT&T one of the 40 best companies for diversity. “The companies in
its special report demonstrated strength and outperformed their peers
in one or more of four key categories: supplier diversity, senior
management, board involvement, and employee base,” the magazine said in
a press release announcing the list.
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