Six Former Employees File Suit against AT&T

Article excerpt

After months of rumbling discontent, six former employees of

what used to be AT&T Universal Card Services and AT&T Solutions

Customer Care have filed suit against their former corporate

parent company, contending that AT&T Corp. unfairly excluded

them and about 500 other employees from an AT&T early retirement

program.

Earlier this year Universal Card was bought by Citibank, and

Solutions was bought by Matrixx Marketing Inc. of Cincinnati.

Employees at the two units were excluded by AT&T from a special

companywide early retirement plan, which includes comprehensive

medical benefits for life and additional money.

The company said at the time the program was designed to reduce

the number of employees and that it was not designed for

employees already leaving as a result of their units being sold.

The suit argues that after the sales were announced, AT&T

unfairly put roadblocks in the way of employees trying to

transfer to other AT&T units where they would have qualified for

the plan. Previously, the company had actively helped employees

find jobs at other subsidiaries.

By blocking the exits, AT&T interfered with the plaintiffs'

attainment of their rights under the Employee Retirement Income

Security Act, the suit contends.

"I'm sympathetic, but at the same time I am convinced that what

we did was fair and square," said Burke Stinson, an AT&T

spokesman in Basking Ridge, N.J.

Plaintiffs are Carmen Perillo, Stephen Dautel, Gerald Hardy,

William Brown, J. Elaine Broom and JoAnn Kotchowski.

DON'T BE CONNED

Vince Lockwood of Power Exchange, which installs

remanufactured engines, warns that scam letter writers from

Nigeria are targeting the Jacksonville market again.

Earlier this month he received a letter purporting to be

seeking a partner to help launder $41.5 million illegally

obtained as a result of "over-invoicing" for a government

contract. The letter also asks for his bank account number.

Banking and law enforcement officials periodically issue

warnings about the scam letter industry in Nigeria, and the

Nigerian Embassy in Washington even runs ads warning people not

to be conned.

And speaking of cons, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.,

which insures bank deposits, has just established a "suspicious

internet banking" web site at

www.fdic.gov/consumer/suspicious.filstml.

The site lists official FDIC "special alerts" on unauthorized

banking operations in the United States, including those

trolling the internet.

SARASOTA ANALYST DIES

Sam Beebe, a well-regarded Florida bank stock analyst and money

manager in the Sarasota area, died June 20 of an apparent heart

attack. …