AT&T confirmed yesterday that it has fired Aaron Slator, a president who became the subject of a $100 million discrimination lawsuit for using his work phone to send racially offensive images. "There is no place for demeaning behavior within AT&T and we regret the action was not taken earlier," the company said. The images in question were found on Slator's phone by an assistant who was asked to transfer data to a new phone, according to the lawsuit filed Monday by Knoyme King, a 50-year-old black woman who worked for Slator. One of the images, apparently of an African child dancing with the caption "It's Friday ..." followed by a term offensive to African-Americans, had been sent in a text calling it an "oldie but a goodie," the suit says.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, names as defendants Slator, AT&T, CEO Randall Stephenson, other executives, and board member Joyce Roche; it also alleges that King—who has worked for AT&T for 30 years, per lawyer Skip Miller—was passed over for promotions and given inferior raises because of her race, mistreated, and subjected to attempts to get her to quit. Miller said yesterday the lawsuit will continue. He said AT&T failed to take action earlier, despite the issue being brought to the attention of its board of directors and HR department. "This is an AT&T problem, it's not just an Aaron Slator problem," he said. (Another AT&T problem: An 83-year-old customer served with a $24,000 dial-up bill.)