AT&T to Pay $756,000 to Settle Religious Discrimination Charges

October 29, 2007 ( - AT&T will have to pay $756,000 to two former service technicians who said they were suspended and fired for attending a Jehovah's Witness Convention, according to a recent ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

According to a statement from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which represented the two plaintiffs, the jury awarded Jose Gonzales and Glenn Owen $296,000 in back pay and $460,000 in compensatory damages.

The men said they had submitted written requests in January 2005 to attend the three-day convention in July. They had said they attended the event every year they worked at AT&T, for Gonzales, more than eight years, and Owen, nearly six years.

“In this case, AT&T forced Mr. Gonzalez and Mr. Owen to choose between their religion and their job,” said Faye A. Williams, regional attorney for the EEOC Memphis District Office, in the statement. “Title VII does not require that an employee make that choice in order to maintain gainful employment.”