A Verizon Wireless worker who was fired in June after six years of stellar performance reviews filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against the company on July 1, and is now publicly sharing his story of how he faced constant racial discrimination at work from customers and managers.
Martin Hopkins, who worked as a Sales Solution Specialist in Lancaster, Ohio, told the Columbus Dispatch about how management permitted the usage of racial slurs and jokes and accommodated customers who refused to be served by a black man.
Hopkins had gotten on the radar of Verizon Wireless management before for standing up for his coworkers and customers. A little more than two years ago, Martin began talking with his coworkers about the possibility of organizing a union. Martin says that a high-level official from Verizon Wireless management came to the store, individually spoke with each employee and said that they could lose their jobs and the location could close if the workers exercised their right to join together. This scare tactic effectively killed any talk of a union at the store.
Martin also faced blowback from management when he stood up for customers, for example when he insisted they get credits owed to them. In fact, it was this type of disagreement that seems to have been used as an excuse for Martin's firing.
The Ohio Organizing Collaborative, a social justice coalition that includes CWA, community groups, and faith organizations, sent a letter to Verizon this week calling for the company to reinstate Hopkins and to conduct implicit bias training for managers and employees across the corporation. Stay tuned for updates and actions you can take to support Martin, and visit https://www.facebook.com/VZWrising to learn more about Verizon Wireless workers coming together.