Comcast reacts to Jezebel report: ‘Sexual harassment is not tolerated’

Comcast Center headquarters in Philadelphia. Image: Comcast
Image: Comcast

Comcast has responded to a report on the editorial site Jezebel that detailed a series of sexual harassment complaints at call centers and other company offices. 

"Sexual harassment, or harassment of any kind, is not tolerated at Comcast," the company said in a statement"The company was founded on a foundation of respect, integrity and trust. We have strong policies against sexual and other forms of harassment and encourage employees to report any harassing behavior. Any allegation of harassment is taken very seriously.”

On Thursday, Jezebel, which is operated by Fusion Media Group, published a post, painting at least one Comcast call center as having a locker-room-like atmosphere where men use profane and bawdy language rampantly, while habitually engaging in inappropriate touching of women. 

“In interviews with six women who worked at the company in different locations and at different times, they paint a clear picture: Comcast call centers are workplaces where sexual harassment, both verbal and physical, is still frequently allowed to run amok,” Jezebel said in its piece.

The website went into one former Washington, D.C., call center worker’s story in particular. Detailing what she described as a “nightmare,” the worker described herself as a childhood sexual abuse survivor who not only had to listen to inappropriate discussions from her male coworkers each workday, but also was subjected to unwanted touching.

“When Rhodes told a manager what had happened, she told Jezebel that the manager asked her not to go to HR with the complaint, but to instead let her handle it. Rhodes doesn’t know what the end result was,” Jezebel said. 

An individual close to Comcast insist the company has responded to each identifiable, documented accusation in the Jezebel piece. In some cases, implicated employees and managers were put on administrative leave, the source said. Other cases are still in litigation, and the company can’t comment on them. 

For its part, Jezebel said there were around 1,200 sexual harassment complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from 2005-2015 in the “information industry—which includes telecom companies like Comcast.”

Are Comcast call centers more “amok” with sexual harassment issues than other large telecom companies … or large U.S. corporations in general? 

Here, the website's implication breaks down a little. In citing a finite number of problematic instances for a company with over 100,000 workers, Jezebel doesn’t note any data on how many harassment claims are typical for a company that size.