U.S. District Judge David K. Winder has dismissed a discrimination suit filed against Mountain Bell.
The suit was filed in 1985 by Mary Jenks, a woman of Indian descent who is 64. She went to work for Mountain Bell in 1947, left 10 years later to rear a family, was rehired in 1975 and her job ended on March 1, 1985. She filed suit contending age and race discrimination as well as other complaints.Winder wrote that in 1984, Mountain Bell was reducing its work force because of mechanization. Jenks was told in October 1984 that her job as a clerk was to be phased out. Winder wrote that she was eligible for early retirement in late 1984 but did not choose that option.
After she was told her job was being phased out, her supervisor, Don Smith, offered her a job in the accounting department mail room that "required lifting 50-pound bags of mail," Winder wrote.
She said she wasn't interested because of her age and the lifting. In December 1984, Smith offered her a job stuffing envelopes and said she would be fired if she didn't accept it. Smith testified he told her that because no other job was available, the termination would amount to a resignation if she also refused to retire.
She then transferred to the mail-stuffing job and other clerks in Smith's unit assumed work that she had been doing. After requesting a transfer because of difficulty with the new job, and not getting one, Jenks called the office on Jan. 28, 1985. "It is disputed what was said in that conversation," Winder wrote.
Two other employees testified that she said she was quitting and wanted her vacation time to start immediately. Jenks filed a discrimination charge saying she was forced to resign and she was discriminated against.
Winder concluded that no evidence was found that Mountain Bell had a policy to create new positions for displaced employees.