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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
11-18-10

One Communications Corp. Will Pay $66,000 to Settle EEOC Religious Harassment Lawsuit

Telecommunications Provider Harassed Jewish Employees, Federal Agency Said

PHILADELPHIA — One Communications Corp., the largest privately held regional provider of telecommunications services in the United States, has agreed to pay $66,000 and provide other equitable relief to settle a religious harassment lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.

The EEOC charged in its lawsuit that the vice president of sales regularly subjected account executives Collin Buten, Alan Gordon and Marc Reinstein to harassment because of their religion, Judaism, at the company’s facility in Conshohocken, Pa. Even though the employees complained to management about the harassment, which included anti-Semitic remarks, the company failed to take effective remedial measures to stop the offensive conduct. The religious harassment was so intolerable that Gordon was forced to quit, the EEOC said in its lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Civil Action No. 09-04448.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits religious harassment at the workplace. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.

In addition to the monetary relief to the claimants, the five-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit enjoins the telecommunications company from engaging in religious harassment or retaliation. The settlement requires the company to provide training to all managers and employees at the Conshohocken facility and to post a remedial notice.

“Unfortunately, the number of religious discrimination charges filed with the EEOC has increased dramatically over the last decade,” said District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. of the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office, which oversees Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, Maryland and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. “This lawsuit should remind all employers that religious harassment is not just reprehensible, it is also illegal.”

EEOC Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence added, “We believe that this settlement, including the injunctive relief and training requirements, will protect all company employees from unlawful harassment by addressing the problems that led to the lawsuit.”

According to its web site, www.onecommunications.com, One Communications Corp. has over 2,000 employees and $800 million in annual revenue.

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