June 5, 2006

Verizon settles pregnancy bias suits for $48.9 mln

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc. will pay a
total of $48.9 million to settle old lawsuits claiming its
predecessor telephone companies NYNEX and Bell Atlantic
discriminated against pregnant women, a government agency said
on Monday.

According to court papers submitted in U.S. District Court
in Manhattan by Verizon and the U.S. Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission, more than $25.3 million has been paid
so far and another $23.6 million will be paid in pension

The settlement, originally struck in 2002, covers 12,326
current and former female employees, according to the EEOC.

A spokesman for Verizon said it denies any allegation of
discrimination but at the time, the settlement was seen as
being in the company's best interest.

In 1997, Bell Atlantic merger with NYNEX. Those companies
were known as Bell Atlantic and merged with GTE. That entity
became known as Verizon in 2000.

The lawsuits were filed by the EEOC in 1997 and 1999
against Bell Atlantic and NYNEX, and some of the claims stretch
back to 1965.