Bringing a lawsuit against the yellow pages

Me leaving, nobody missed me. When I left YellowPages, there was nobody out there saying, hey, I want some more of those digital ads. There were zillions of AdTech and MarTech companies that are out there. There were tons of people. Water is the second most important thing in your life. We are made up mostly of water. You can live four minutes without air. You can live four days without water, four weeks without food. What I dug in and learned about water scared me, and I thought I was fairly intelligent about stuff like this.

City grandee Bob Wigley sued over collapse of Yellow Pages-owner Hibu

I think about will I be okay in my lifetime, probably? Will my kids be okay, and will their kids be okay is really something that keeps me up at night. FIJI Water is the real deal. They got to bring it in on boats. Do you carry a phone around? You carry it around for convenience. Scary is how much microplastic is in them. There was a whale that was beached I think in South Africa in the last couple of days.

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  • 27 F. 3d 1316 - Stacks v. Southwestern Bell Yellow Pages Inc.
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Nobody ever gets self-aware. We really have so much to learn about it. If you look back on your path, how have you evolved as a leader, like the Dane that was leading in YellowPages in the early days versus you as a leader now? When I was doing financial planning, I could sit with people. Hypothetical, I could have twin brothers married to twin sisters who both have two sets of twins. All of them do the same job, but they would have incredibly different goals, fears, all of that, and you had to sit and ask them.

More so now than ever, I think the process of asking why, which is a radical self-awareness. What you got to know is people. Leadership is hard. Not making a decision is in fact a decision. The second one is off subject but important was Yuval Harari, Sapiens. What was interesting about Sapiens? We have certain things about us that are genetic, and then we have a certain relationship to those who are genetically related to us.

It also requires or it gives you the ability to process differences. I work on English as a second language, as a first language. What I knew is they were having conversations that I had no idea what was going on. I could read body language and I could read things like that, which you had to do in order to survive and get through what we got there was you had to appreciate the differences.

We are in a very loose, open society. We revel in the US about democracy, and we can have all these opinions. Have you thought about the actual construct of leadership? People want to be led. I was listening to a CEO of a company a couple of days ago who is also a physicist. He talks about the interface between states of matter, and he uses something simple. He uses that as the illustration between the creative side of your company and the execution side of your company.

Again, it goes back to the chaos and the control. It requires some deep curiosity engrained in that person? The pressure is all on you. You go to the service desk and the guy that has the shirt on that says manager. Do you have any confidence that because he has manager on his shirt, embroidered on that shirt, that they actually know anything? People go out every day. They start their car. They drive to work. They go, whatever they do. I have something in my stomach.

This person said this. I said this. I responded this. I emailed this, but I did this. At what point do you let people in, do you consult people to really gain people on your team to resolve this? What is the line of radical transparency with regards to panic in private or that philosophy? If you are the leader, your people must have abject trust in you. I look at it — and again, going back to the way I was raised — and again, we were raised poor, but we never knew that. It was real apparent. You asked a question about did I ever run out of money? Yeah, we were out of money, but I never told anybody that.

I put on my armor. I went down to the end of the street where my investor was, and he committed more capital. I never walked in and asked for more capital than I needed. I knew that capital is his, not mine. There is a fine line. They are going to wake up in a big way. There are reams of data around most successful CEOs in startups are 45 years old when they start.

We actually have scars, blood on our hands, huge mistakes. We understand what a flip phone was. Where does all that…. Okay, so if you were to speak to — rewind back ten years and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be? This goes to the self-awareness issue.

Sometimes I could just overcome commonsense. We were selling to the public drinking water systems in the US. It is such a dysfunctional market. Today, when I advise water related companies that if your business model is to sell things to cities, you need another business model, but I stuck with it too long. We had a fabulous B2B industrial cooling process water solution, and it was the same product. When we pivoted, it was — the relationship between me and the investors had soured to a point to where it was time for both of us to not do that anymore. The minute you pivot a company, you just admitted that you were wrong, that your original model was wrong.

It was flawed, and so everybody knows. Being tenacious is great. We always said at YellowPages the only reason we succeeded is because we were so stupid. They may be just as blind as you are. If they actually listen to what is happening in the moment, the answer is more than not pretty clear.

It destroys relationships, and it kills businesses. If you continue to row the boat toward the falls, the company will continue. Headquarters

You can continue, and you can hold down the fort and panic in private for a period, but when that period extends for a very long period, your health begins to really go down, mental health and physical health. Why is this happening? Why is this happening and being willing to strip away more layers? You wake up in the morning. Dumb stuff like that. It goes back rewinding again to what was the biggest challenge? I know that aggregation and mindshare happens best on a shared experience. I can get a little direct and almost flawed on my directness. They go, oh, my God, yes. When you can break through that, it builds bonds between me and companies that go on for years.

Both representatives and managers attended. Stacks explained that wives were not invited so that the male representatives could bring "dates," who were referred to as "road whores" and were "berated, talked down to, made fun of, and passed around. Stacks also testified about a party following a company golf tournament in April About forty people, including managers from five states, attended the party. At some point, Jim Bransford, who would be promoted to manager in January on Hudson's recommendation, put on a videotape tape.

At first the tape appeared to be a review of the golf tournament. However, in the middle of the tape Bransford was shown in the front seat of an automobile with some other males and two female sales representatives were in the back seat.

The Yellow Page Business Directory Invoice Scam Continues to Claim Victims in North Carolina

After the men chanted "show us your tits," the women lifted their blouses and exposed their breasts. Two managers from Arkansas watched the videotape. Stacks testified that when she saw the videotape she felt like she was in a "male locker room" and "just wanted to crawl under the carpet. Other female employees testified about sexually offensive comments. Jean Burkes, a seventeen-year Yellow Pages employee, testified that in she was present when Brown told Stacks a joke about masturbation.

Pam Gage testified that at work the male representatives and managers often talked about the "road whores" and "tits and ass. Reagan testified that her manager, Robert Walker, told her she looked like a "madam" and would not be promoted unless she had breast reduction surgery. Reagan complained to Brown and asked to be transferred out of Walker's crew. Brown told her to work things out with Walker and made him apologize. Stacks also presented evidence of conduct that occurred after she was terminated.

Zelma Taylor, a sales representative, testified that in April , a female stripper performed at a sales meeting as a birthday present for Bransford. Taylor testified that in addition to Bransford other managers were present, including Brown. During the performance, the stripper put her breasts and buttocks in Bransford's face.

Taylor heard Brown comment that the "real show was in the back of the room. Brown testified in Yellow Pages' defense. Brown stated that Stacks was not terminated because of customer complaints, failure to return telephone calls, or sales performance. Brown conceded that Stacks was a top performer and that sales performance was the "bottom line. Brown claimed that Stacks was terminated because of her actions during the last week of September and that she had refused to take responsibility for them at the grievance proceeding.

In particular, Brown claimed that Stacks had been insubordinate, citing her failure to meet with Hudson on the afternoon of September 30, and that she had ridden with Rhodes despite instructions to the contrary. Brown did not testify that he gave explicit instructions to Stacks, but testified that he believed she had violated his instructions to Hudson.

Brown stated he told Hudson "I want Barbara Stacks to handle her own job. She's made this bed, and I want her to take care of it. He also acknowledged that he told Rhodes that he could ride with Stacks on one or two accounts, but claimed he later learned that Rhodes' supervisor had not given his permission. In response to a question from the court whether Rhodes had been disciplined "since he also disobeyed," Brown replied no. Brown explained that he did not believe that Rhodes had disobeyed any specific instruction because Rhodes had not been present when Hudson told Stacks to complete her own work and believed that Stacks had not told Rhodes of Hudson's instruction.

The court then asked Brown if he had ever discussed the matter with Rhodes. Brown again replied no. During cross-examination, Brown was questioned about a "Documentation Outline" concerning Stacks' termination. Brown also admitted that the investigation of Stacks following her suspension was "in-depth" and "unusual. Counsel also asked Brown if the company had options other than termination in dealing with sales representatives who had been good performers but began experiencing problems. Brown responded that the company could give the employee a warning, place him on probation, or enroll him in a "Development Program," which was a formal procedure whereby a manager and an employee were given the opportunity to work out a problem.

Brown testified that he had considered recommending the program when Hudson reported that Stacks was having problems in Hot Springs, but did not go forward with it, explaining the ultimate decision rested with Hudson. As to Hudson's manner, Brown characterized Hudson as "very mannerly" and the "consummate professional," but acknowledged that Hudson was "emotionally honest" and publicly "chewed out" all employees.

Brown admitted that Stacks' complaint prompted him to instruct Hudson to criticize his employees behind closed doors. Brown also admitted that he had heard that Hudson had remarked that women and blacks were the worst thing that had happened to the company. Alternatively, Brown stated that he believed that Hudson made the remark "in jest or as points of frustration. Hudson could not recall the discussion. As to Stacks' other claims, Brown denied making any comment to her about masturbation.

Brown, however, admitted that he was present when the stripper performed and had commented on the "show in the back of the room. In an opinion issued from the bench, the district court acknowledged the case was one of the most difficult discrimination cases it had ever heard. The court stated:. I'll admit that I do have some problems with some of [Hudson's] testimony.

Legal Dialogue - Initiating a lawsuit

I think he may well have thought that women were the worst thing that happened to Southwestern Bell Yellow Pages and that if he had his druthers, he wouldn't have any women there Yes, I have some problems with the way Ms. Stacks' attitude was being evaluated. As to the hostile-work-environment claim, the court noted that despite its reservations about Hudson's testimony it did not believe that Hudson had harassed Stacks because of her sex. The court believed that Hudson was "unpleasant toward everybody.

The court, however, apparently believed her testimony concerning the other incidents, but found the incidents could not support a hostile-work-environment claim. The court discounted the videotape incident because it was isolated and there was no showing of company involvement.

The court rejected Stacks' testimony that the closed parties made her feel less than human because she had admitted having had a relationship with a married man. As to her discharge claim, the court noted that it would not have terminated Stacks, characterizing her as a "crackerjack salesperson. Stacks appealed. Although she acknowledged that generally a finding of no discrimination is subject to the clearly erroneous rule, she argued that the district court erred as a matter of law in failing to address the question whether the mixed-motives analysis of Price Waterhouse v.

Hopkins, U. Asbill, F. This court agreed and remanded, instructing the district court to make findings "whether Stacks demonstrated that her gender was a motivating factor in the challenged employment decision, and, if so, whether Yellow Pages met its burden to demonstrate it would have made the same decision anyway.

We noted that evidence that gender was a motivating factor included " 'evidence of actions or remarks of the employer that reflect a discriminatory attitude,' and '[c]omments which demonstrate a discriminatory animus in the decisional process, or those uttered by individuals closely involved in employment decisions We directed the district court to reconsider its statement concerning Hudson's remarks about women at Yellow Pages and the "way Ms.

On remand, the district court again rejected Stacks' claims. The district court stated that the "discharge claim [wa]s dealt with easily under Price Waterhouse. The court then went on to apply Price Waterhouse to Hudson's treatment of Stacks in the context of her harassment claim. The court found that Price Waterhouse was inapplicable because Stacks refused to follow Hudson's instructions and had lied about her whereabouts on the job. Alternatively, the court found that even if there was a gender-based motive in Hudson's treatment of Stacks, Stacks would not prevail because Hudson "would have taken the same action against a man who intentionally disobeyed, frustrated his managerial efforts, and was untruthful.

After remand, Stacks first argues that the district court erred in failing to analyze her discharge claim under Price Waterhouse. In particular, she argues that as a matter of law and fact the court erred in finding that Brown was the sole relevant decisionmaker as to her discharge.

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  5. We agree. As made clear in our remand, evidence that gender was a motivating factor includes evidence of "[c]omments which demonstrate a discriminatory animus This court has recently stated that " '[a]n employer cannot escape responsibility for [ ] discrimination McDonnell Douglas Corp. Unisys Corp. Here, without doubt Hudson was closely involved in the decision-making process at each step. At trial Hudson admitted that he participated in the decisions to suspend and terminate Stacks. Diversitech Gen. We need not remand a second time for the district court's reconsideration. Although the court erred in failing to apply Price Waterhouse to Stacks' discharge claim, it did apply it to her harassment claim. While, as will be discussed, the court erred in applying Price Waterhouse to the harassment claim, its analysis in the context of the harassment claim is applicable to the discharge claim.

    Despite its earlier concern that Hudson's comments reflected a discriminatory animus that affected the way in which he evaluated Stacks' performance, on remand the court found that Hudson's comments and conduct did not invoke Price Waterhouse because Stacks had disobeyed and lied to him.

    The district court evidently misunderstands the first part of the Price Waterhouse mixed-motives analysis. Even if an employee is disobedient or has lied, that "does not render [gender]-based motives against such an employee justified. By focusing on Stacks' behavior the court failed to consider whether she presented "evidence, be it direct or circumstantial, sufficient to support a finding by a reasonable fact finder that [gender] actually motivated the challenged decision.

    We believe she did. Zip Feed Mills, Inc. Hudson's comment that "women were the worst thing" that had happened to the company, however, warrants such an inference, even though it was not made during the decisional process. In Radabaugh, this court held that corporate documents which emphasized youth as a positive factor and were authored by one of two persons who participated in a decision to discharge an older worker supported the giving of Price Waterhouse instruction.

    The court noted that even though the documents were "not directly relate[d] to the challenged employment decision, Yellow Pages contracts in the province ask clients to renounce that right when signing up for services. The contracts also state that clients do not have the ability to terminate their contract unilaterally. In its decision to authorize the class action, the court noted that these contracts were ambiguous in their ask of clients to renounce their rights.

    He added that he is expecting between 2, and 3, individuals and businesses to sign on to the suit. The action is open to any individual or corporation in Quebec who tried to cancel their service contract with Yellow Pages after June 8, , and were refused the right to terminate it. The company has also been involved in hundreds of lawsuits.