U.S. Cellular Workers Spied On Customers' Phones For Nude Photos, Lawsuit Claims

US Cellular workers phones snoopingIt's not only teenagers who are sharing explicitly sexual photos on their cellphones. It seems that some U.S. Cellular employees also are using cellphones for a little raunchy fun -- at least if the allegations in a recent sexual harassment lawsuit and civil rights complaint turn out to be true.

According to the suit and the complaint by former U.S. Cellular employee Lisa Blazek, her co-workers in the city of Spencer, Iowa, regularly spied on customers' phones in search of nude pictures and then played an adult version of show-and-tell at work. Blazek claims that several of her male co-workers coerced her into looking at nude and lewd photos when she was employed as a retail consultant at the wireless phone provider.

"Many times I would be called over to look at something only to find out that it was a sexual picture on a customer's phone," says the 32-year-old Blazek in her complaint filed with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission.

Blazek worked at a U.S. Cellular store in the northwest Iowa city from 2007 to 2010. In her complaint, she also accuses her co-workers of asking her about her genitalia and preferred sexual positions. And she asserts that she was told not to tell anyone about what was going on at work or she'd lose her job. She eventually quit U.S. Cellular after two years.

The suit is being closely watched by legal observers, who say it has the potential break new ground in legal fields beyond sexual discrimination. "I think this case is unique in its facts," Blazek's attorney, Stanley Munger, told The Associated Press.

In light of the case's particulars, U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett sought the consent of both the plaintiff and defendant to use the suit as a case study in employment discrimination for a class he teaches at Drake University.

There's precedent regarding the use of cellphones at work that's well outside the confines of sexual harassment. In a case heard by the Ohio Court of Appeals, a former hospital employee claimed that he was wrongfully fired for the use of a personal cellphone at work.

He said that he had taken a photo of a patient to document mistreatment and bring the issue to the attention of the hospital. The hospital said that regardless of any alleged mistreatment, the move violated a hospital ban on employee use of personal cellphones in the workplace.

In the ruling released on May 23, 2011, the court upheld his dismissal, saying the employee "was not involved in any criminal investigation nor did he attempt to institute such an investigation" at the time of his firing.

After the ruling, the Ohio Employer's Law Blog noted the durability of regulatory bans on personal cellphones in the workplace by detailing two forms in which they might appear:

  • An outright ban on mobile phones in the workplace.
  • A ban on the taking of photographs in the workplace.

"Moreover, the ability of these mobile devices to readily connect with social networks like Facebook or Twitter increases the risks posed by these tiny cameras," the blog also noted.



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37 Comments

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thelatescottbaio

i managed three verizon stores and we did this all the time.

March 22 2012 at 2:51 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
jared

If you do not want to be seen, then don't send! Figures, she worked there for two years laughing and searching along with them. Her story differs, but she played along. Now she notices a chance to get rich. America is the number 1 nation in the world for lawsuits. People like her and all lawyers make me sick.

March 22 2012 at 1:47 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
gy1419

You dont want the world to see you naked dont put it on a cell phone...

March 22 2012 at 12:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
petpetdonna

For the morons that put this kind of crap on their cell phones they deserve what they get. Did someone say Big Brother is watching? Yep, and he sees you naked. Yet another reason cell phone companies should raise their rates to $3 a minute. That would end all of the foolishness and kids texting 24/7 too.

March 21 2012 at 11:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Patiti Forero

* are in the right hands

March 21 2012 at 11:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Patiti Forero

I bet most of those pix on in the right hands... to be held just in case you become someone important or find the love of your life... it's the Devils art work of bringing you down. We only hear about the famous or the politicians but it's done everyime and everywhere to all people.

March 21 2012 at 11:18 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
mc4421

Oh, and BTW folks, Homeland Security can pull up ANY photo, text, call, or ANY data transmitted over ANY media transference device. It was a deal made with all of the carriers to "relax" the restraints on them as far as upgrades and such. They ( Big Brother ) look the other way when money is to be made by the carrier, and in return they have a little input as to technology to go in at the next "upgrade". So, you don't have to hand your phone to an employee of the carrier. If it has been sent to anyone as an electronic communication, then it is open game for whoever..... National Security, you know. Read up on all of the changes we got in the last 3 years. Having fun yet???????

March 21 2012 at 10:48 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Clarence D. Stinson

Lisa Blazek is a pile of bull crap. She got busted and now she's trying to blame her male co workers for coercing her to look at explicit photos. Sleazy ***** like her always blame men for their conduct.

March 21 2012 at 10:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Clarence D. Stinson's comment
dws51564

Any evidence with that accusation?

March 21 2012 at 11:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mc4421

I hope everyone is aware that US Cellular is just another one of AT&T's many faces and many names through the hundreds of acquisitions they have made over the years........

March 21 2012 at 10:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mc4421's comment
xanadu4024

Actually US Cellular was at one time a separate entity from AT&T, now in last decade they may have been "absorbed" into the AT&T family. But before they simply used similar radio technology as Iused to have US Cellular and when they swapped territory with AT&T out west the two did not have any connections EXCEPT if I was in one area I would ROAM to other companies towers,, this was fee to "borrow" tower time.

March 22 2012 at 3:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Fredooch

I used to work for Cricket Communications and this was done on a regular basis on there as well.

March 21 2012 at 10:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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