PHILADELPHIA – A former systems technician for Verizon brought legal action in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against the communications company on Tuesday, alleging it violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) when it suspended and terminated him in June.
According to the lawsuit, Warrington resident Edwin Whinney, 52, had worked for Verizon for 28 years. Whinney had spent the final 15 years of his tenure as a systems technician who performed his job well and did not exhibit significant disciplinary concerns, he says.
About eight weeks before his termination, Whinney began to be supervised by a new Area Manager, Greg Bream. Under Bream’s supervision, Whinney asserts he was subjected to “rude and condescending” treatment, selective enforcement of policies against him and negative age-related comments.
For example, Bream allegedly told the Whinney “you older guys” do not want to climb poles and take too long doing their jobs - a claim Whinney says he opposed by explaining he had been climbing poles for many years and could do the job just as fast as his younger counterparts.
Last June, Whinney was summoned to a meeting with Bream regarding a dispute over the troubleshooting repair of a digital subscriber line (DSL). During the meeting, Bream allegedly kept inferring Whinney was not in the location he claimed to be while this repair was being serviced, despite having no evidence to support this inference.
At the conclusion of that meeting, Bream allegedly informed Whinney he was suspending him and conducting a “personal, in-depth investigation” into his time sheets that had been filed over the preceding months.
On June 15, after 28 years of employment, Whinney was informed he was being terminated due to alleged falsification of his time sheets. Whinney says this was done without Verizon first following any type of “progressive discipline” (a policy Whinney said was followed during his tenure with the company).
Whinney labeled this accusation “completely pretextual and baseless”, and asserts he was suspended and then terminated for opposing the defendants’ “age-related discriminatory behavior.” Whinney subsequently filed suit against Verizon Services Corporation and Verizon Pennsylvania, LLC.
Whinney is seeking back pay, front pay, salary, pay increases, bonuses, insurance, benefits, training, promotions, reinstatement and seniority, plus liquidated punitive damages, costs, attorney’s fees and other relief in this case.
The plaintiff is represented by Ari Risson Karpf of Karpf Karpf & Cerutti, in Bensalem.
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania case 2:16-cv-01302
From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at firstname.lastname@example.org