AT&T TO PAY $75,000

Telecommunications Giant Fired Employee Because He Complained About Race Bias, Federal Agency Says

PITTSBURGH – AT&T (formerly Cingular Wireless), a Fortune 500 telecommunications company, will pay $75,000 to settle a federal race discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced(08/03/09) today.

The EEOC charged that John T. Davidson, an African American retail sales consultant at AT&T’s Penn Place store in Monroeville, Pa., applied for several managerial positions with AT&T Mobility, formerly Cingular Wireless, but was not selected. According to the lawsuit, the company promoted non-black employees and applicants to managerial positions during that time period, but refused to promote Davidson because of his race.

The EEOC further contended that the company repeatedly disciplined Davidson unfairly, and ultimately terminated him, in retaliation for his exercising his federally protected right to file a charge with the EEOC.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal to treat an employee less favorably than other employees based on race and to retaliate against someone who complains about race discrimination. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 08-1067 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement out of court.

The two-year consent decree settling the suit, which is pending court approval, provides important equitable relief, including: mandatory anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation training for all managers and employees at its Penn Place store; supervisor accountability requirements to ensure that all retail managers and supervisory personnel administer their work areas in compliance with company policies against discrimination; and the posting of a notice about the settlement.

“We are gratified that AT&T worked with the EEOC to reach an amicable resolution of this lawsuit,” said EEOC Acting Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence. “The consent decree includes significant equitable relief that will benefit all company employees.”

According to company information, Dallas-based AT&T is the largest communications holding company in the world by revenue, with customers in virtually every country and territory in the world. The company serves millions of enterprise and multinational business corporations on six continents.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at: