AT&T, whose offices are located in Indiana and across the United States, had been sued by a Muslim woman in what can only be described as a hostile work environment matter. The harassment finally went too far when the woman’s supervisor purportedly snatched her head scarf off and exposed her hair.
During her final years working for AT&T before being fired from her job, this woman reported that she was called a terrorist and “towel-head” and was asked if she had plans on blowing up the building. The corporate conglomerate may be forced to pay a heavy price for allowing such conduct to continue as the woman was awarded $120,000 in lost wages and $5 million in punitive damages in her discrimination lawsuit.
Since most of us spend a great portion of our lives trying to earn money to support our families, one can only imagine how unbearable it must be when workplace discrimination and harassment occurs at our place of employment. As the workplace is becoming more and more diverse, employers have the duty and obligation to make certain that workers from whatever walk of life are treated equally and respectfully.
AT&T attorneys have voiced its intent to appeal the above verdict. This is not the first time that AT&T has found itself on the wrong side of a verdict concerning its employment practices. In 2009 a jury awarded an employee $1.3 million to two former employees fired for attending a Jehovah’s Witness’ convention.
Hopefully jury verdicts such as these will force the company to make the needed changes so that such discrimination at the workplace disappears.
Source: Pioneer Press, “AT&T to pay Muslim woman $5M in harassment case,” May 5, 2012