One of America’s largest telecommunications companies is facing a US$100 million law suit after a high powered exec shared racist material on his work phone.
Aaron Slator, the company’s former president of content and advertising sales, sent a number of racially offensive images including one of an African child dancing alongside the caption “It’s Friday N****s,” – the meme was apparently sent in a text, describing it as an “oldie but a goodie.”
Current AT&T employee Knoyme King filed the lawsuit Monday, in Los Angeles Superior Court – King claims she was mistreated, passed over for promotions and given inferior raises solely because of her race.
In a clear-cut case of “closing the barn door once the horse has bolted,” Slator was sacked the following day – but King’s lawyer says the communications conglomerate was too slow to act.
“These images and issues were reported a year and a half ago, and the company swept them under the rug,” said Skip Miller, adding that Slator’s sudden departure wouldn’t do anything to dampen the lawsuit.
“If anything, it's an admission of liability,” he said. “The issues in this case are age, race and gender discrimination, and they don't stop with Aaron Slator. “This is an AT&T problem, it's not just an Aaron Slator problem,” he continued.
“The appropriate reaction - the morally responsible and legally required one - would have been for AT&T to take steps to remedy this past, and to prevent future, racism by its top television content executive,” claims the lawsuit.
“AT&T did not do this. Instead, AT&T engaged in an illegal cover-up, to ensure that its racism remained hidden-even at the expense of long-term, loyal African American employees,” it continues.
The lawsuit also argues that "Slator harbours obvious and deep-seated racial animus toward African Americans,” before adding; “Slator's decisions regarding hiring, firing, promotions and raises are infected by his racism."
Now, King is seeking US$100 million in damages, including racial discrimination, but it’s not the only lawsuit threatening AT&T at the moment – the company is also facing a $10 billion claim that it discriminates when contracting with 100 per cent-owned African American media.
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