An African-American Verizon worker has filed a lawsuit against the company and her colleagues after she said she found a noose made of wires over her work area in Madison.
Marisa Powell, 50, says her colleagues -- mostly comprised of white males -- had been harassing her for several months before she made the discovery in February, NJ.com reports .
Powell, a 30-year Verizon employee and network technician, sought help from her supervisors and Verizon's human resources department repeatedly, and apparently futility, her attorney Robert R. Fuggi Jr. was quoted saying in the article.
“After the harassment, discrimination and intimidation rose to the level of a noose hung above her workspace," said Fuggi, "Ms. Powell realized that litigation was her only option.”
The suit -- filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court -- said the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office was investigating the incident as a hate crime, NJ.com reports.
Verizon spokesperson David Weissmann said he couldn’t comment but did release a statement saying the company does not tolerate harassment or discrimination.
Powell said she was stalked at work and yelled at by a colleague beginning in June 2015. She went on medical leave for nine months due to a medical condition that developed because of the stalking, the suit says.
When she returned, Powell was reassigned to the Madison office, where her requests to work elsewhere to avoid having to interact with the alleged stalker were ignored by higher-ups, NJ.com says.
Powell in August 2017 noticed someone had placed an advertisement for Playboy magazine in her desk drawer that depicted a naked woman and the words: “Every Man’s Christmas Wish," the suit says.
She found the noose made of cable wires hanging on a support beam over her desk on Feb. 14 of this year, the suit says.
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