Verizon Wireless workers file EEOC complaints over racial and retaliatory discrimination

Several African-American Verizon Wireless workers have filed Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaints over racial discrimination and retaliatory discipline and firing. “There would be times when customers would come in, either ask or refuse to work with the colored boy, some referred to me with the n-word,” said fired Verizon worker Martin Hopkins. “Management would say you can’t say anything. A lot of times they would say I would have to take the customer.” Hopkins also faced racist comments and unfair treatment from managers, including one who has a Confederate flag tattoo.

In a statement, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) demanded Verizon Wireless take all necessary steps to protect employees against racism. “Dr. King preached the deep connection between civil rights and workers’ rights. The two are inextricably linked and fighting for workers must also mean fighting the racism – both blatant and institutional – that makes it even harder for people of color to get ahead, no matter how hard they work,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown.

The Ohio Organizing Collaborative, a social justice coalition that includes CWA, community groups, and faith organizations, has launched a petition and sent a letter to Verizon calling for the company to reinstate Martin Hopkins and to conduct implicit bias training for managers and employees across the corporation. 

Links:

Verizon Wireless worker files EEOC complaint for racial discrimination (Speed Matters, July 19. 2019) 

Brown Urges Verizon to Take Action to Protect Workers Against Racism (US Senate, Aug. 19, 2019)

Ex-employee says Verizon Wireless tolerated racist behavior at Lancaster store (The Columbus Dispatch, July 18, 2019)

Verizon workers file federal complaints against alleged racist workplace culture (Shadowproof, Sep. 5, 2019)