A Black woman who worked at AT&T Ohio reported a racist death threat she received, according to a lawsuit. However, shortly after submitting her concern, HR contacted her but not to resolve the issue – to tell her to grab a box, pack her things and get lost.
In March, 54-year-old Stacey Fowler discovered a note on her desk that read, “If we can’t take you down, we’ll take you out,” with a slew of racist and misogynistic slurs, according to the lawsuit. She suspected the message came from a white male subordinate – the same one who was behind a pending “reverse discrimination” claim against her, per her lawsuit. While the company investigated the origin of the note, Fowler told NBC4i she worked from home out of fear for her safety.
However, after three weeks of the racist note probe, she was fired for violating company policy as director of the construction and engineering department, per her lawsuit.
Then, she filed another complaint but this time, in federal court.
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She said she was told it was related to the discrimination complaint against her, but she received no exit paperwork, nor a written statement of her termination.
The death threat was not a one-off instance of discrimination, Fowler said. As one of few Black women in the department, she said a culture of racism and misogyny permeated the workplace for years. Her lawsuit, she said, is not just to defend herself against false AT&T’s accusations of her wrongdoing, but to stand up for the other marginalized employees in the company who may not feel safe reporting discrimination.
Per Fowler’s lawsuit, she claimed the company was moving funny in how quickly they addressed a white employee’s discrimination complaint against her versus how they handled her complaint. She also claimed the company’s whole “DEI” spiel is just for show. Fowler says they’ll do anything to maintain the white male dominance of the company.
In response, AT&T denied the allegations and said they’re ready to clap back.
“We do not discriminate nor do we tolerate discrimination of any kind, including based on race or any other factor. Any suggestion that we do is just wrong and we intend to fight this lawsuit,” they said in a statement to The Daily Beast.