A Texas telecom company just lost a $70 million federal discrimination lawsuit.
Atlanta Black Star reports that Glow Networks Inc. and its parent company, CSS Corp, exposed nine Black employees — and one white employee who advocated on behalf of his Black co-workers — to what can only be summarized as a hostile work environment tinged with more than a bit of racism.
And based on the facts of the case, that’s the height of understatement.
“Court documents reveal there were originally fourteen members in the group suing Glow Networks, Inc., alleging that they had ‘both tangible actions, such as terminations and denials of promotions, and on the alleged creation of a hostile work environment,'” reports the outlet.
Initially, fourteen employees brought the federal discrimination suit against the telecom company. However, only ten employees ultimately were awarded damages — the other four’s claims were dismissed by the court.
For Yarbrough, though, it was the principle of the matter.
“We decided to take it in our own hands and actually go to court and really fight for something that we really believe is not right,” Yarbrough said. “African-Americans deal with this type of thing every day.”
A spokesperson for Glow Networks claims that the company will be appealing the verdict.
“Glow Networks prides itself on maintaining a diverse workforce free of discrimination/retaliation based on race or any other protected status,” said the spokesperson. “We are currently exploring all available avenues on appeal.”
The discrimination suit successfully proved a hostile work environment
According to the Dallas Morning News, the crux of the federal discrimination lawsuit focused around the testimony of Joshua Yarbrough, a lead engineer at the company, who noticed the excessive surveillance that Black employees were subjected to.
“The collective alleged the company not only punished Black people for checking their phones while on the clock but separated the Black employees into two surveilled rooms in the office for executives to monitor,” the Atlanta Black Star reports.
Yarbrough testified that he first began noticing the surveillance in 2018, after which Black employees were reprimanded more than their white counterparts for such minutiae as checking their phones. Yarbrough also noted that the non-Black employees weren’t subjected to the same discipline for the same offense.
Then, Yarbrough testified, things went from covert to overt in their racial bias.
“The African-Americans were pushed right in front of the cameras, and we realized that we were watched closely,” he said.
Ultimately, Yarbrough testified that the company engaged in constructive dismissal — his position as a lead engineer was demoted to merely being an engineer. Then, he resigned.
And that was just the beginning of the racial discrimination at the company. Now, they’ll have to pay to the tune of $70 million for their racist behavior.