Verizon to Pay $20 Million to Settle Nationwide EEOC Disability Suit

PRESS RELEASE 7-6-11

Verizon to Pay $20 Million to Settle Nationwide EEOC Disability Suit
Largest ADA Settlement in EEOC History for Hundreds of Employees
Terminated or Disciplined Based on Rigid Attendance Policy
BALTIMORE – Telecommunications giant Verizon Communications will pay $20 million and provide significant equitable relief to resolve a nationwide class disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The suit, filed against 24 named subsidiaries of Verizon Communications, said the company unlawfully denied reasonable accommodations to hundreds of employees and disciplined and/or fired them pursuant to Verizon’s “no fault” attendance plans.

The consent decree settling the suit, which is pending judicial approval, represents the largest disability discrimination settlement in a single lawsuit in EEOC history. The EEOC charged that Verizon violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) by refusing to make exceptions to its “no fault” attendance plans to accommodate employees with disabilities. Under the challenged attendance plans, if an employee accumulated a designated number of “chargeable absences,” Verizon placed the employee on a disciplinary step which could ultimately result in more serious disciplinary consequences, including termination.

The EEOC asserted that Verizon failed to provide reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities, such as making an exception to its attendance plans for individuals whose “chargeable absences” were caused by their disabilities. Instead, the EEOC said, the company disciplined or terminated employees who needed such accommodations.

The ADA prohibits discrimination based on disability. The law also requires an employer to provide a reasonable accommodation, such as paid or unpaid leave, to an employee with a disability, unless doing so would cause significant difficulty or expense for the employer.

“Flexibility on leave can enable a worker with a disability to remain employed and productive — a win for the worker, the employer and the economy,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien. “By contrast, an inflexible leave policy may deny workers with disabilities a reasonable accommodation to which they’re entitled by law – with devastating effects.” Chair Berrien presided over a Commission meeting earlier this month on leave as a reasonable accommodation.

“I am pleased the parties were able to resolve this historic case without resorting to prolonged and expensive litigation,” said EEOC General Counsel P. David Lopez. “Hopefully this nationwide decree will further public awareness of the importance of engaging in an individualized interactive process to determine whether a disabled employee must be accommodated under the ADA.”

The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Civil Action No. 1-11-cv-01832-JKB, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC filed its lawsuit and the proposed consent decree resolving the suit on the same day. The consent decree resolves the EEOC’s lawsuit, an EEOC Commissioner charge, a charge filed by the Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO, and over 40 individual charges filed with the EEOC. The investigation involved coordinated systemic efforts by EEOC’s Baltimore Field Office and Newark Area Office.

“This settlement demonstrates the need for employers to have attendance policies which take into account the need for paid or unpaid leave as a reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities,” said Spencer H. Lewis, Jr., Director of the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office, which oversees Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, and parts of New Jersey and Ohio.

In addition to the $20 million in monetary relief, the three-year decree includes injunctions against engaging in any discrimination or retaliation based on disability, and requires the company to revise its attendance plans, policies and ADA policy to include reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities, including excusing certain absences. Verizon will provide mandatory periodic training on the ADA to employees primarily responsible for administering Verizon’s attendance plans. The company will report to the EEOC about all employee complaints of disability discrimination relating to the attendance policy and about Verizon’s compliance with the consent decree. The company also agreed to post a notice about the settlement.

Finally, Verizon will appoint an internal consent decree monitor to ensure its compliance. The settlement applies to certain Verizon wireline operations nationwide which employ union-represented employees.

EEOC Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence said, “This consent decree is the result of productive and thoughtful negotiations with Verizon. We appreciate Verizon working with the EEOC to reach a settlement. In addition to providing meaningful monetary relief for hundreds of former Verizon employees, the settlement contains important equitable relief, including company policy changes and training designed to provide people with disabilities equal opportunities in the workplace.”

According to its website, http://www.verizon.com, Verizon Communications Inc., headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon has more than 196,000 employees and last year generated consolidated revenues of $106.6 billion.

In fiscal year 2010, private sector workplace discrimination charge filings with the EEOC hit an unprecedented level of 99,922, which included a record-high number of disability charges (25,165) – an increase of 17.3 percent in disability charges over the prior fiscal year.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site at http://www.eeoc.gov.

http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/7-6-11a.cfm

As Verizon would say: Making Progress Every Day!

“The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
Edmund Burke

Neal W. Dias
774-627-4218
Fightingfor7years@hotmail.com
Justicefor7@yahoo.com

My Blog Page:
Blog Address (GOOGLE): Bullying at Verizon – Enough is Enough

Facebook:
• Justice at Verizon
• Enough is Enough – Stop Workplace Bullying

My Story:

https://justiceatverizon.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/bullying-at-verizon/

https://justiceatverizon.wordpress.com/2012/06/24/unjustice-at-verizon-and-the-massachusetts-commission-against-discrimination/

 

Huffington Post Article:

Title: Verizon: Plenty Of Good Middle Class Jobs But Would You Want To Work There?
http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2012/09/14/verizon-plenty-of-good-middle-class-jobs-but-would-you-want-to/

My Press Releases:

My Speeches:
Healthy Workplace Bill Press Conference in Boston Massachusetts July 7, 2012 (Video):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85HKgP-dfyI

Healthy Workplace Bill Press Conference in New York April 30, 2012 (Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6pPe2gqGRI&feature=share

Civil Rights and Anti-Bullying Leadership Summit in Hartford Connecticut at the Legislators Building, August 9, 2012
**(Neal W. Dias – fast forward to 02:41:56 – 02:56:09)**
http://ct-n.com/ondemand.asp?ID=8061

National Workplace Bullying Press Conference in Washington DC October 15th 2012
http://www.workplacebullying.org/freedom-week/freedom-week-wbi/

http://www.workplacebullying.org/2012/10/11/fw-npc/

http://uspolitics.einnews.com/pr_news/118659159/national-leaders-support-freedom-from-workplace-bullies-week-mary-kay-henry-seiu-hilary-o-shelton-naacp-mg-taguba-ppalm

Newspaper Article About Me:

Healthy Workplace Bill Press Conference in New York April 30, 2012 (Newspaper Article):
http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/128768/savino-englebright-push-bill-to-fight-workplace-bullying/

Legislative Gazette May 7, 2012
http://www.legislativegazette.com/Articles-Top-Stories-c-2012-05-07-81658.113122-Bill-protects-employees-from-workplace-bullying.html

Story on the Massachusetts Healthy Workplace web site June 11, 2012:
http://www.mahealthyworkplace.com/workplace/neal.html

Civil Rights and Anti-Bullying Leadership Summit in Hartford Connecticut at the Legislators Building, August 9, 2012 (Flyer)
http://www.ct.gov/chro/lib/chro/2012_Summit_Details_and_Information.pdf

Press Release Distribution October 11, 2012
http://www.prlog.org/11997573-national-leaders-support-freedom-from-workplace-bullies-week.html

News Blaze October 12, 2012
http://newsblaze.com/story/2012101205010600002.pnw/topstory.html

ABC Channel 13 / WE-SET TV The Heart of Virginia October 15, 2012
http://www.wset.com/story/19802884/national-leaders-support-freedom-from-workplace-bullies-week-mary-kay-henry-seiu-hilary-o-shelton-naacp-mg-taguba-ppalm

24/7 Press Releases October 13, 2012
http://www.24-7pressrelease.com/press-release-rss/national-leaders-support-quotfreedom-from-workplace-bullies-weekquot-308871.php

U.S. Politics Today October 15, 2012
http://uspolitics.einnews.com/pr_news/118659159/national-leaders-support-freedom-from-workplace-bullies-week-mary-kay-henry-seiu-hilary-o-shelton-naacp-mg-taguba-ppalm

PETITIONS:

Bullying at Verizon – Enough is Enough / Petition:
http://signon.org/sign/bullying-at-verizon-enough?source=c.em.cp&r_by=4096164
Enough is Enough – Stop Workplace Bullying / National Petition:
http://signon.org/sign/enough-is-enough-stop-1?source=c.url&r_by=4521742

Healthy Workplace Bill:
Healthy Workplace National Bill page: http://www.healthyworkplacebill.org/

o PLEASE, click on this link above, then get into you specific state. Once you are in the state of your choice, Click on to your state, and you will see the: “HWCE-Z Letter E-Mailing Tool,” will be right on that page. It will only take one minute as it will allow your state legislators know instantly that you are in support on this “Healthy Workplace Bill.”
Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) / Unlimited Resources

http://www.workplacebullying.org/

Undercover Lawyer / State Law Resources for Hostile Work Environment

http://www.undercoverlawyer.com/state-law-resources/

Oprah (On Workplace Bullying):

http://www.oprah.com/health/Workplace-Bullying-Linked-with-Lack-of-Sleep

National Workplace Bullying Attorney – Carol Ryder:
Attorney Carol Ryder from New York, NY.

http://carolryderlaw.com/100301.html

 

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About justiceatverizon

Neal W. Dias – Bio I am a 46 year old former U.S. Marine, who was brought up by my father, due to my mother passing away when I was 8 years old. I have five children, and a grandchild and a wonderful wife. I was born in 1965, in Fall River Massachusetts. I lived on the 2nd floor from my Grandmother. I come from a very large family Cape Verdean family. In 1973 we moved from the city, into the suburban neighborhood, a place called Swansea. It was that year when I lost my mother in an auto mobile accident. In 1984 I went into the U.S. Marines which enforced respect for one self and our Nation. After getting out of the Marines, I furthered my education and received my first degree, which was in Electrical Technology. In 1997 I was hired by Nynex (now called Verizon), as a lineman. In 2004 I was promoted to manager as I was in the process of working on my second degree in Business Management and advanced to upper management, rapidly. I was a valued leader on the Verizon Diversity Committee, and spoke at several locations. I was on the Diversity committee and was directly responsible for ensure the first ever Verizon’s Diversity Week went on without any hitches. I was awarded for my success in New York by the Verizon New England President. I was apart of other specialized organizations within Verizon to ensure my voice was heard as I stood up against Bullying, Harassment, Racism and Discrimination was not accepted with the Verizon walls. But it was in 2004 when I was promoted, I began to see Verizon employees getting bullied and tormented by Verizon Management. I did what I through was best, and tried to halt the bullying that was taking place at Verizon, then it shifted to me. After standing up against the powers to be, trying to help others I was targeted, harassed, bullied, discriminated against, endured racial harassment and eventually wrongfully terminated. I was brought up with the belief of how you treat people, is how you will be treated. It was embedded into my mind that respect was how it will be in my family. My father said, “Respect people, work hard and life will treat you kind.” This was the belief of a man who was discriminated against for so many years, because of his color, but never changed his values. I knew then, I cannot walk away like so many others that have had to endure such cruelty, and that this bullying issue is larger than me. After seven and a half years my story is still is not over as I am still in federal court in Boston Massachusetts awaiting the second summary of judgment decision. I will continue to fight for justice and my honor. I now have committed my life to help others, and started a blog page which has acquired over 13,000 readings and over 1,500 comments in only a few months. After hearing all these stories, I knew I had to do something and became an advocate for workplace bulling. This is when I stumbled upon “New York Healthy Workplace Advocates.” On April 30, 2012 I was honored to have spoken in Albany New York at the Capital a National Campaign on Workplace Bullying. I am an active Advocate to this cause, in Massachusetts. I have helped to organize many in the fight against Verizon and other companies in the war against bullying in corporate America. I have helped to guide so many to resources to guide these victims in the fight against any form of harassment or discrimination in the workplace, as this is my mission. Neal W. Dias 645 Marvel Street Swansea, MA. 02777 774-319-3931 Fightingfor7years@hotmail.com Healthy Workplace Bill Press Conference in New York April 30, 2012 (Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6pPe2gqGRI&feature=share Healthy Workplace Bill Press Conference in New York April 30, 2012 (Newspaper Article): http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/128768/savino-englebright-push-bill-to-fight-workplace-bullying/
This entry was posted in Anti Bullying, bULLYING, Code of Ethics for Business, Conspiracy, Discrimination, Emotional Trauma, Employment Attorneys, Enough is Enough, Enough is Enough - Stop Workplace Bullying, Harassment, Healthy Workplace, Healthy Workplace Bill, Justice, Justice at Verizon, MCAD, Perjury, Petition, Racism, Tampering with Evidence, The Healthy Workplace Bill, The Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination, U.S. EEOC, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, U.S. Justice Department, Uncategorized, Verizon, Verizon Anti Bullying, Verizon Careers, Verizon Code of Conduct, Verizon Comminication Inc, Verizon Communications, Verizon Complaint Handling, Verizon Corporate Security, Verizon EEO, Verizon Employee Code of Conduct, Verizon Enterprise Solutions Code of Conduct, Verizon Mission Statement, Verizon Official Site, Verizon Privacy, Verizon Wireless, Verizon Wireless Code of Conduct, verizon workplace lawsuit, verizon workplace lawsuits, Wrongful Termination and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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