As many Missouri workers know, certain forms of discrimination in the workplace are prohibited by federal and state law. On April 21, AT&T revealed it had terminated an executive at the center of a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by a 30-year employee of the company. AT&T apologized for the executive’s actions and said the company regretted not terminating him sooner.

The $100 million lawsuit, filed against the terminated executive, the company itself and other individuals, focuses on a message sent on the executive’s phone that had racially offensive overtones. The woman, who is 50, said she told AT&T about it. However, the suit says no action was taken in regard to the offensive message. The woman also stated in the lawsuit that she was harassed after this and kept from promotions.

The firing would not halt the lawsuit, the woman’s attorney said in comments to the press. The attorney alleges that AT&T has a culture that allows racial discrimination and, although the company knew about the message for over a year, no action was taken. This lawsuit comes after a $10 billion suit was filed in New York that alleges AT&T discriminates against black media companies.

An employee who feels he or she was discriminated against due to their sex, race or any other protected status may file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This type of discrimination is unlawful, and employers are obligated to protect their employees from such behavior. Speaking to an attorney when workplace discrimination occurs may be helpful. The discrimination can range from the creation of a hostile working environment to wrongful termination, among other prohibited acts.

Source: Buzzfeed, “AT&T Fires Executive Hit By $100 Million Racial Discrimination Lawsuit”, Michelle Broder Van Dyke, April 28, 2015