Petitioners Demand Lancaster Verizon Store Rehire Worker Who Claims Racism | WOSU Radio

Petitioners Demand Lancaster Verizon Store Rehire Worker Who Claims Racism

Sep 27, 2019

Workers and activists delivered a petition Thursday to a Verizon Wireless store in Lancaster to reinstate an employee who was fired. 

The petition had 15,000 signatures encouraging the store to hold implicit bias trainings and to reinstate fired employee Martin Hopkins.

Hopkins was the only African American employee at the store. He says during his six years with the company, he overheard employees using racial slurs and was sent to the back of the store after customers refused to be helped by him.

Hopkins says he was not given a reason when he was fired in June. 

"The reason I want to go back is because fixing something from the outside is a lot more difficult than fixing something from the inside," Hopkins says. "So that’s why I would take the job back, that’s why I want Verizon Wireless to be a better company. It can be a better company, if people are held accountable for their actions."

After coming forward with his story, Hopkins says other Verizon employees have come forward with similar experiences.

In a statement sent to the Lancaster Eagle Gazette, a Verizon corporate spokesman said, "The petition mischaracterizes both the reasons for Mr. Hopkins' terminations as well as his performance during his tenure with the company."

The statement also said, "We do not tolerate discrimination or harassment and we train our employees and leaders on ways to prevent discrimination and harassment in our workplaces. We demand that our entire workforce is treated with integrity, dignity and respect."