Hispanic Workers Ring up Charges at Verizon

April 24, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Verizon Communications is facing a possible class action lawsuit suit and stands accused of discriminating against Hispanic employees throughout its operations in compensation, advancement, and terminations.

A complaint was filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by two current employees and one former Verizon employee.

The workers say they represent a potential class of over 3,500 Hispanic workers who were employed by Verizon and its predecessors, GTE and Bell Atlantic, in the last four years.

The plaintiffs allege that the telephone company denied Hispanic workers the same training, mentoring, and opportunities for compensation and advancement that they afforded their Caucasian employees.

According to lawyers for the workers, the charges detail a compensation and advancement analysis performed by the group’s 1999 human resources department, which showed disparities between the compensation and advancement of minority and Caucasian employees. 

Instead of taking corrective action to remedy these disparities, company officials declared the findings “Confidential” and shelved the report, according to the workers’ attorneys.


The workers complain that in 2001, Hispanic representation in management positions in Verizon’s largest business unit was 22% less than their representation in non-management positions and there were no Hispanics in Senior Management positions.

Further, workers charge that in Verizon’s Retail business unit, Hispanic representation in management positions was 39% less than their representation in non-management positions.

Verizon has more than 247,000 employees.


Yvonne Silva, one of the plaintiffs, was employed by Verizon for 15 years until she was fired in July 2001, allegedly as a result of a downsizing, while less-qualified Caucasian employees were retained, lawyers say.

Silva charges that while working at Verizon she was elected President of the Hispanic Employee Resource Group in 1999. After the election she was demoted from her position as director and given “demeaning and dead-end assignments,” before being terminated, the suit alleged.