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PRESS RELEASE
10-3-11

BellSouth Telecom Sued by EEOC for Discrimination

Two Women Subjected to Sex Harassment and Retaliation for Complaining, Federal Agency Charges

ATLANTA – BellSouth Telecom, Inc., a nationwide telecommunications provider, subjected two female employees to sex harassment and retaliation after they complained about the harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Carla Suber and Melanie Williamson-Terry were subjected to hostile work environment sex harassment by the same manager. When Williamson-Terry filed an internal complaint regarding the harassment, four days later the alleged harasser stripped her of her managerial responsibilities and then demoted her. Likewise, when Suber filed a complaint of sex harassment, within a month the same manager denied her a promotion and demoted her as well.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex or retaliation. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No., 1:11-cv-03345-WSD-JFK) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The EEOC is seeking back pay, compensatory and punitive damages for Suber and Williamson-Terry as well as injunctive relief designed to stop such discriminatory conduct and prevent it from recurring in the future.

“An employee has a legal right to be free of sex harassment and, when it does occur, the right to complain about it without fear of reprisal,” said Bernice Williams Kimbrough, district director for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office. “Unfortunately, the person who engaged in the unlawful behavior was allowed to seek retribution against the victims. The EEOC is committed to ensuring this does not happen again.”

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