Archives for posts with tag: Neil Diaz

Verizon Pays $300,000 to Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment Case

Asher Adelman
Workplace Issues Examiner

Verizon Pennsylvania Inc. has agreed to pay $300,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit that was filed by the EEOC on behalf of Theresa Allen, a former Verizon employee.

Allen alleges that she was subjected to sexual harassment by coworkers. When she complained to Verizon management about the abusive behavior, which included the posting of sexually inappropriate graffiti and materials at the Verizon Pennsylvania facility, her coworkers retaliated against her and created a hostile work environment.

The EEOC said, “Even though management officials knew about the retaliatory harassment, they did not investigate or take action to stop it. Instead, the company fired Allen in retaliation for her complaints.”.

http://www.examiner.com/article/verizon-pays-300-000-to-settle-eeoc-sexual-harassment-case

NYNEX:
Most Valuable Pervert

Some industries are prone to wrongdoing, criminal and otherwise. The chemical, tobacco, pharmaceutical and auto industries come to mind. The telephone industry is not usually a regular in the criminogenic crowd. That’s why NYNEX, the regional telephone company serving New York and the New England states, stands out.

In May 1990, a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C. indicted NYNEX on one count of criminal contempt for violating the consent decree that broke up the giant Bell operating system. The U.S. Justice Department began its investigation after Scott Rafferty, a lawyer hired for NYNEX’s Telco subsidiary, questioned the legality of giving MCI Communications access to Telco computer facilities. Rafferty says he was fired for questioning the “regulatory exposure” of a number of NYNEX’s business operations.

In October 1990, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reached an agreement with the company settling FCC charges brought in February that the company overcharged its unregulated affiliates by $35.5 million. The company was fined $1.4 million. The settlement decree, approved by a vote of 5-0, did not cite findings of wrongdoing. But Commissioner Andrew C. Barrett said in a separate opinion that he would have preferred to have had such a finding. Barrett said there was “sufficient evidence of wrongdoing to find that NYNEX violated the FCC’s rules regarding transactions between telephone companies and their nonregulated affiliates.”

Rafferty calls the FCC settlement with NYNEX a sellout.

The New York Public Service Commission apparently didn’t think very highly of NYNEX’s veracity or competence either. It reduced the company’s $945 million rate request to $23 million.

Company executives were apparently paying more attention to the libidinous needs of fellow male executives than they were to the rights of the company’s phone customers. From 1984 to 1988, NYNEX allegedly held “pervert conventions” in Florida, where employees and suppliers partied together. Awards were given at the convention: one NYNEX employee won the “Procurement Award” for three consecutive years for “arranging for women” to appear at the conventions; others included the “Most Valuable Pervert Award” and the “Moon Over Miami Award.”

Rafferty charges that there were improper relationships with suppliers at the conventions that tainted business transactions. New York State officials allege that many suppliers who attended the conventions saw their business from NYNEX increase, but NYNEX denies this.

Instead of listening to Rafferty and other employees who sought an early exposure and resolution of incipient corruption within the company, NYNEX sought to silence the messengers. According to Rafferty, a number of other whistleblowers within the company faced this silencing treatment. Michael Burkhart was discharged by a NYNEX subsidiary after he questioned the use of illegal, one-of-a-kind contracts to give unlawful discounts to certain large corporate customers. Robert Zirkelbach was fired by a NYNEX subsidiary after he questioned markups as high as 1,004 percent that the NYNEX procurement subsidiary, MECO, was charging. Tobias Squitieri was fired after he complied with a New York state employment discrimination administration subpoena regarding the discharge of another employee.

Many of the fired employees have brought legal actions against NYNEX.

http://multinationalmonitor.org/hyper/issues/1990/12/mokhiber.html

Businessweek Archives

Nynex And At&T Can’t Hang Up On This Scandal

Posted on April 16, 1995

Finance: INSIDER TRADING

NYNEX AND AT&T CAN’T HANG UP ON THIS SCANDAL

Back in 1990, Nynex Corp. became the center of a lurid scandal involving bawdy parties at Florida hotels held annually by its suppliers. The explosive disclosures surfaced during a regulatory proceeding in a state rate case for Nynex’ New York Telephone unit. After investigations by the company and the state utility commission didn’t produce information that might have led to criminal charges, the issue of what dozens of party-goers dubbed the “perverts’ conventions” faded away.

Until now. BUSINESS WEEK has learned that the Securities & Exchange Commission is taking a look at the retreats as part of its ongoing investigation into a sprawling insider trading ring. On Feb. 9, the SEC charged that a group of 17 friends–many of whom had worked together at New York Telephone when it was part of AT&T–allegedly reaped $2.6 million trading on illegal tips on AT&T’s plans to take over several companies. On the same day, the Justice Dept. brought criminal securities fraud charges against six of the alleged insider trading ring members.

Now law-enforcement officials are trying to find out if the two scandals are linked. The weeklong retreats, from 1984 to as late as 1989, may have overlapped with some of the alleged insider trading, which took place from 1988 to 1991. On Apr. 5, the SEC issued at least two subpoenas requesting information about the retreats, including the closely guarded names of attendees, according to Scott J. Rafferty, a former Nynex employee who received one of the subpoenas.

One of the few names made public during the Nynex scandal was Lawrence Friedman, a former Nynex vice-president who arranged the parties. Friedman is also a member of the insider trading group charged by the SEC. And sources say at least two others named in the SEC’s complaint are on the secret list of those who attended the retreats: Thomas Alger, one of the two ringleaders, and Robert Flanagan, who was scheduled to be Alger’s roommate at the 1985 retreat at the Marina Bay Hotel in Fort Lauderdale. They were friends who had worked together at New York Telephone. Alger has pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy, while Flanagan is fighting the charges. Alger declined to comment. Friedman through his lawyer declined comment. Flanagan could not be reached.

“SECRET SOCIETY.” William R. McLucas, the SEC’s enforcement chief, also declined to comment. AT&T and Nynex weren’t accused of any wrongdoing in the trading scheme. AT&T had no comment. Nynex still refuses to discuss the Florida meetings, citing its policy against disclosing personnel matters. In the New York rate case, the company contended that such disclosures could strain marriages and hurt company morale. Nynex also argued that the identities of those who attended and the companies they represented, as well as alleged prostitution and other convention activities, are “trade secrets” that needn’t be disclosed. Accepting that argument, an administrative court judge ordered that the names remain under seal. “Had Nynex publicly disclosed their names, the wrongdoers wouldn’t have been able to keep the secret society together to do their insider trading,” says Rafferty, who alerted the SEC to the Nynex tie.

The SEC’s new focus on the Nynex parties could reveal the full extent of what is already one of the largest insider trading rings. The scheme was orchestrated by Alger and Charles L. Brumfield, both AT&T labor relations executives, the government charges. The men passed confidential information to friends and relatives about the company’s plans to acquire four companies–Paradyne, NCR, Digital Microwave, and Teradata–the SEC complaint says. After the participants illegally traded on the information, they passed back $300,000 of the illicit profits to Alger and Brumfield, who is known as “Big Red” because of his red hair. Brumfield also pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy.

BAD-DEBT SCAM. Another alleged participant was Joseph Penna, a union representative for 2,000 technicians and clerical personnel at AT&T’s computer unit, who negotiated contracts with Brumfield. Three days after AT&T had announced a $6 billion takeover mf NCR, Penna denounced the deal in an interview with the Newark (N.J.) Star Ledger. “I’m not going to stand by and allow that,” he said. But just days before the deal was announced, Penna allegedly made more than $36,000 in illegal profits from trades based on information about the imminent proposal, according to the SEC complaint. Penna had no comment.

One of the men under criminal indictment has been in trouble with the law before. Joseph A. Cusimano, a former executive vice-president of International Games Inc. in Joliet, Ill., pleaded guilty in 1992 for his part in a scheme to conceal $173,000 in political contributions. He was sentenced to three years’ probation and fined $99,000. Cusimano, a friend mf Brumfield, was the largest profiteer in the insider trading scheme, making more than $865,000, according to the SEC. The agency’s complaint also alleges that Cusimano falsified a promissory note to cover up payments he made to Brumfield in return for inside information. His attorney says Cusimano expects to be acquitted at his trial.

All six of the defendants in the criminal case have pleaded innocent. Their trial is scheduled for the fall. The SEC, meanwhile, is pursuing its case against the 17 individuals it has identified as part of the insider trading ring. With the renewed prosecutorial interest in the frolicking in Florida, that number could go higher.

TOO CONNECTED?

MID-1988 Nynex investigates lewd gatherings of employees at Florida hotels from 1984 to 1988. Two convention organizers were dismissed, including Lawrence Friedman. In February, the SEC alleged that Friedman was involved in an illegal insider trading ring.

DEC. 1988 The SEC says the insider trading scheme started when Charles Brumfield, an AT&T executive, obtains nonpublic information about AT&T’s plan to buy Paradyne. He tips two former AT&T executives.

NOV. 1990 Brumfield learns of AT&T’s plans to acquire NCR and passes it on to Thomas Alger and others. During the next year, says the SEC, Brumfield passes tips about AT&T’s takeover of Digital Microwave and Teradata.

FEB. 1995 The SEC files charges against 17 people, including Brumfield and Alger, alleging they made illegal insider trading profits of $2.6 million.

APR. 1995 SEC starts exploring whether the Nynex gatherings and the AT&T insider trading ring are linked.

DATA: BUSINESS WEEKBy Michael Schroeder and Mark Lewyn in Washington

http://www.businessweek.com/stories/1995-04-16/nynex-and-at-and-t-cant-hang-up-on-this-scandal

Probe Connects N.Y. Phone Firm to Bawdy Parties

July 12, 1990| Associated Press

NEW YORK — Investigators are looking into allegations that New York Telephone suppliers helped pay for bawdy parties and prostitutes at annual conventions of company employees, it was reported today.

State regulators are questioning whether the meetings at Florida resorts resulted in higher costs being paid by customers, The Wall Street Journal said.

http://articles.latimes.com/1990-07-12/business/fi-569_1_nynex

Verizon Screwed Me

Posted Sat October 12, 2002, by Thomas S. written to Verizon Local Telephone (and FIOS)

The world thrives on communication today, which is why I’m so upset with the experience at Verizon Local Telephone, a situation that’s very frustrating. Quite honestly, I’m furious about this issue. Just for the record, here’s my telephone information: 631 348-0463.

I was a manager with Verizon for 18 years. Because I wanted to report workplace violence to security, my boss threatened to fire me. When I did not comply with her constant threats, I was terminated! I even received death threats in the mail! And Verizon used their force reduction to oust me, after keeping me out on a paid leave for 10 months while they planned this trickery! There is a lot more to this than I will go into now.

You have two choices: You can chose to contact me to discuss this further OR you can ignore me and keep your eyes on the news headlines because I have enough dirt on this company, including photos, recordings, witnesses, etc., to make EXCELLENT reading. This will make the NYNEX Pervert Convention look like a childs birthday party!

Because of what Verizon and their unethical practices did to me for trying to uphold what they “claim” is their Code of Ethics, my two young girls will be deprived of what I could have done for them had I still had my job. And since nothing is more important than my kids, I WILL CONTINUE to fight, write, publicize, etc. until I get the results I want!

If I do not hear from you by November 1, 2002, my information goes to the media.

http://www.planetfeedback.com/verizon+local+telephone+(and+fios)/other/verizon+screwed+me/199743

Our Sister Firm, Fine, Olin & Anderman, Wins Discrimination Suit Against Verizon

Posted on November 16, 2010 by Finkelstein & Partners

When a worker suffers an injury on the job, they need to worry about getting better, not whether or not they’

ll have a job to return to after their recovery — and they certainly don’t need, or expect, to be disciplined after a workplace accident. That was the case argued, and won, recently by Finkelstein & Partner’s sister firm, Fine, Olin & Anderman (FOA) LLPon behalf of a number of affected Verizon employees.

FOA, which represents union members and their families, filed a discrimination lawsuit when they learned that many of their workers’ compensation clients employed by Verizon were disciplined for having a work place accident.

“We believed that

Verizon’s actions violated the law, and their employee’s rights, as their policy discriminated against people who had work place accidents,” said FOA attorney Vincent Rossillo.  “The cause of the accident didn’t matter.  People were disciplined, even if the accident wasn’t their fault.  As a result of this policy, workers have been suspended without pay, sent to ‘safety school,’ written up, or given warnings,” continued Rossillo. “The company is worried about their bottom line, not the well-being of their employees.”

As stated in the case,

Verizon employees have been reporting fewer work place accidents because of the discriminatory policy.Rather than subjecting themselves to discipline, employees are simply not reporting the accidents and are shifting the medical costs to their private health insurance.  By under-reporting accidents, Verizon’s workers’ compensation insurance  costs will decrease  while the cost of private health insurance premiums will rise.

“This is likely what

Verizon hoped would happen when they implemented their policy,” argued Rossillo.  “If the company’s workers’ compensation costs decrease while the costs of private health insurance increase, the company can use that to their advantage against the union when negotiating the next contract.”

The lawsuit noted that

Verizon’s new policy only affected those workers who had work place accidents.  If an employee was injured at home or off the job, no disciplinary action was taken. In addition, workers were disciplined regardless of fault. The simple fact that an accident occurred on the job was cause for disciplinary action.

The

FOA team argued that the Workers’ Compensation Law specifically prohibits an employer from discriminating against employees who have work place accidents. This section of the law was created to prevent employers from taking any action that would harm or intimidate an employee because they filed or intended to file a Workers Compensation claim.

As a result of their findings,

FOA filed discrimination complaints on behalf of numerous clients.  Two cases have gone to trial and in both cases, the Workers’ Compensation Law Judge determined that Verizon had violated the law. In one of the cases, the Law Judge noted that Verizon was clearly not disciplining employees for working in an unsafe manner, but rather was disciplining the employee for simply being involved in a workplace accident.  Back pay was awarded to the employee who had been suspended. In another case where the employee was sent to safety school with no loss of pay, Verizon was fined the maximum amount under the law.

“While these favorable decisions are subject to appeal, the initial decisions are encouraging for protecting the rights of workers,” remarked

Rossillo.  “If Verizon continues to lose these cases and has to pay fines, back pay, and lawyers’ fees, and starts to feel the affect on their bottom line, maybe they’ll  reconsider their policy. In the meantime, we’ll continue to fight for the rights of our clients,” added Rossillo.

If you or a co-worker have been unfairly disciplined for having a work place accident, contact Fine, Olin & Anderman (FOA) and your local union office. FOA will review your claim to determine if you meet the criteria.  You should be aware that there are very strict time limitations in which to file a workers compensation and discrimination claims.  If you do not file a claim timely, you may be forever barred from doing so.

http://lawampm.com/blog/ny-personal-injury-blog/2010/11/16/our-sister-firm-fine-olin-anderman-wins-discrimination-suit-against-verizon/