Talk about digging your own grave: Two supervisors persistently discriminated against and verbally abused a female employee. When she finally had enough and complained, they announced to the entire workforce that she was a rat.

This unsavory story became public knowledge when the employee filed a hostile work environment lawsuit.

Constant grief
The employee, one of a handful of women in the telephone repair unit where she worked, said the supervisors gave her all kinds of grief for six years.

They assigned her to work alone in parts of town that were considered unsafe, and where male employees went only in pairs. They refused her tools and vehicles she needed, denied her overtime opportunities, and failed to respond to her requests for on-the-job help. When she would take issue with her treatment, they would tell her to “get lost” or “go kill herself.”

Eventually, the employee got fed up and complained through a company EEO hotline. Did the supervisors get the message? Hardly.

They called an all-hands meeting at the unit’s garage, where one of them announced that because of the EEO complaint, “They are going to come take over our garage. Every word is going to be scrutinized. You are going to be followed, and the garage will never be the same.” Two days later somebody at the garage placed a large dead snake in the employee’s truck.

The federal appeals court hearing the suit said she had enough evidence of severe and pervasive hostile conduct to get her case in front of a jury.

Cite: Pucino v. Verizon Communications, No. 09-1306, 2nd Cir., 8/13/10.

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