HOUSTON, Texas - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, EEOC, and BP announced Thursday a voluntary resolution of an EEOC investigation relating to the hiring of women by contractors providing temporary labor for the oil spill response in 2010.
The EEOC's investigation was based on concerns raised by several women in Louisiana and Alabama that certain contractors participating in the oil spill response did not consider them for the cleanup effort because of their gender. The resolution, memorialized in a confidential conciliation agreement, avoids protracted litigation and covers a class of female applicants in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
There has not been a determination that BP violated anti-discrimination laws and BP denies that it has engaged in any wrongdoing. This is a voluntary resolution, under which the EEOC and BP are partnering to ensure that contractors used during emergent situations in the future are as committed to equal employment opportunity as BP.
The agreement includes contractual safeguards requiring contractors to abide by EEO laws, training for BP administrators who engage contractors, and a designated BP employee who will monitor the terms of the agreement with the EEOC.
BP also plans to partner with others in the industry to share lessons learned during the spill in order to further emphasize the importance of equal opportunity in hiring, even under circumstances as challenging as the events in 2010.
Keith T. Hill, of the EEOC's New Orleans Field Office director said, "We applaud BP's willingness to aggressively combat sex discrimination in the workplace by sharing its experiences and best practices with its peers, requiring its contractors to comply with federal employment laws, and making a settlement fund available for qualified women who sought employment with BP's contractors as part of the 2010 spill clean-up effort."
Under the agreement between BP and the EEOC, BP and its contractors will pay up to $5.4 million to a yet-to-be-determined class of women in the Gulf region who applied for jobs during the response with oil spill response contractors. Applicants seeking compensation may be required to submit information to support their claims. Undistributed money from the settlement fund will be donated to a Gulf-area charity that benefits women in the workplace.
Saturday, May 18 2013 6:43 PM EDT2013-05-18 22:43:30 GMT
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