Verizon Pennsylvania to pay $300,000 in worker harassment case

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verizon-logoVerizon Pennsylvania Inc. will pay $300,000 to resolve U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission allegations of retaliation against an employee who complained of offensive conduct, the EEOC said.

A Verizon spokesman said a company investigation “could not substantiate the allegations” and that Verizon “has zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind.” The commission said Theresa Allen of Media, Pa., complained about sexually offensive graffiti and materials in Verizon work areas and trucks at its Bryn Mawr, Pa., facility, and said a supervisor had inappropriately touched her.

Later, “she was subjected to retaliatory harassment, including the repeated hanging of a large plastic rat from the ceiling in the garage where the service technicians were stationed between service calls,” the EEOC said.

Even though management officials knew about the retaliatory harassment, they did not investigate or take action to stop it. Instead, the company fired Allen in retaliation for her complaints,” the EEOC said.

Verizon spokesman Alberto Canal said, “At the time the allegations were made, we investigated the matter but could not substantiate the allegations. The company behaved appropriately and the settlement recognizes that the company did nothing wrong.”

We have zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind, and we’re committed to providing a workplace free of discrimination, harassment and retaliation," Canal said. "There is a strict code of conduct at Verizon, and we provide training on that code of conduct and we guide our employees on how to report potential compliance violations.

The EEOC said Verizon Pennsylvania has agreed to provide training on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which makes it illegal to retaliate against someone who complains of employment discrimination, at the Bryn Mawr facility. Verizon has also agreed to distribute a code of conduct to all Bryn Mawr employees and post notice of the EEOC settlement.

Verizon Pennsylvania is a subsidiary of New York-based Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ).

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