A former British Petroleum Oil Co. executive has filed a lawsuit against the company in California's Superior Court, claiming that she was fired from BP following several racial complaints.
According to the 24-page lawsuit, Evans is seeking unspecified damages for race and gender discrimination, harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination, reports The Courthouse News.
Evans began working for BP in 2001, starting out as vice president of North America's Western Region. When she was fired, she had moved to CFO of BP West Coast Products. Evans says in the documents that she was told her "ethnic" clothing choices and hairstyles were making her co-workers "uncomfortable" and that she only wear the looks "during 'culture day' [or] black history month."
The suit cites the statements below as some of the racially insensitive remarks that were directed at Evans:
"'You intimidate and make your colleagues uncomfortable by wearing ethnic clothing and ethnic hairstyles ('Dashikis,' 'twists,' 'braids/cornrows').'"
"'If you insist on wearing ethnic clothing/hairstyles-you should only do so during 'culture day,' black history month or special diversity events/days.'"
"'If you are going to wear ethnic clothing, you should alert people in advance that you will be wearing something ethnic ...'"
It is also noted in the documents that just three weeks before being fired, Evans was praised for her leadership abilities by Rita Griffin -- one of Evans' supervisors named as a defendant in the case. But the tune apparently changed on the day she was fired, with Evans claiming in the documents that Griffin and a second supervisor told her that she "did not get along well with her teammates and colleagues' and that she regularly engaged in 'bullying and overly aggressive behavior." But these claims were greatly different from her yearly evaluation comments that described her as "a people person" who "engages her entire organization and is sincere in her desire to ensure all are valued and heard."
BP has offered no comment on the suit, saying the organization will not speak on the matter.
“Generally, BP does not publicly discuss personnel issues,” BP spokesman Scott Dean told Courthouse News Service. “However, BP treats all employees fairly. BP disagrees with the claims and will vigorously defend the suit.” Evans says she was fired from her job as a cover for "racist and sexist comments and actions and ... hostile and discriminatory treatment that was inconsistent with her similarly situated white counterparts at BP."