A recent EEOC settlement charges that a worldwide oil drilling company subjected black employees to racial harassment on offshore oil rigs. The harassment included a racially hostile work environment, including the display of nooses in the workplace on Rig 108.
Under the agreement, Helmerich & Payne International Drilling Company (or H&P) of Tulsa, Oklahoma, will pay more than $290,000 in damages. H&P’s global operations include contract drilling in the U.S., South American and Africa, among others.
The suit alleges that H&P tolerated a hostile work environment for African American men and women aboard the oil rig, including derogatory language and race-based name-calling directed at black employees.
The nearly $300,000 in damages goes to 7 employees, for an average of more than $42,800 each.
In addition, the consent decree requires that H&P conduct anti-discrimination training and post a notice about the settlement. The company is forbidden to engage in racial harassment or retaliation against employees. It also requires that H&P redistribute the company’s policy prohibiting racial harassment to all employees, and that H&P report some types of complaints of harassment or retaliation to the EEOC for the next two years, for continued monitoring.
“We are pleased that H & P has taken these important steps to improve its work environment,” said C. Emanuel Smith, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Birmingham District, which includes Alabama, much of Mississippi, and the Florida Panhandle. “The monetary relief for the victims in this case should remind employers that there is a high price to pay for racial harassment.”
Commenting from agency headquarters in Washington, EEOC Chair Naomi C. Earp noted that, “A noose is a racial icon that constitutes a severe form of harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Nooses are closely associated with racial intimidation, violence and death, and therefore have no business in the workplace. It’s time for corporate America to be more proactive in preventing and eliminating racist behavior. The EEOC intends to make clear that race and color discrimination in the workplace, whether verbal or behavioral, is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
EEOC Birmingham District Director Delner Franklin-Thomas, said, “Despite what some may think, overt forms of race and color discrimination have resurfaced in today’s workplace – in addition to new and more subtle forms of racism. There has been strong evidence over the past two decades, as shown in this case, that racist language and nooses are far too common on the job.”
While not admitting any wrongdoing, H&P has agreed to the terms of the settlement.
This is just the most recent in a series of discrimination suits this year. The company, Quietflex Manufacturing Co., L.P., paid $2.8 million in its settlement with the workers. It denied any wrongdoing. The workers had staged a work stoppage to protest the discrimination, and were fired. The company, however, shortly afterward hired them back.
Target Corp. paid $775,000 in January as a result of a racial harassment suit that accused the company of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by creating a hostile work environment. Again, the EEOC acted on behalf of the complainant, an employee of the company’s Springfield, Pennsylvania plant who was training to become a store manager. EEOC said the employee, Michael Hill, faced racial harassment from a store manager and as a result was forced to resign. In the settlement, Target also agreed to conduct employee-training sessions at the Springfield store. The company denied any wrongdoing.
Jacqueline McNair, regional attorney for EEOC, said she expected the training program and Target’s emphasis on anti-discrimination policies would “create a more employee friendly work environment at Target’s facility.”
Title VII declares it illegal to discriminate against anyone because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in hiring. It also declares that a firm that creates a hostile work environment in essence forces the worker involved to resign. Title VII prohibits retaliation against any worker who makes a discrimination complaint. All of the companies mentioned in this article deny any wrongdoing.
The Oklahoma sexual discrimination law in the workplace is defined in the Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination Act. According to the law, employers are those who have fifteen or more employees. It excludes Indian tribes and non-profit organizations or associations that function as membership only. As far as employees are concerned, people who are employed by their parents, spouses or children are not included.
Employers in Oklahoma cannot make decisions affecting an individual’s employment based on that individual’s sex.
If your civil rights have been violated, you can file a charge with the Oklahoma Human Rights Commission provided you do so within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory act. You can file your complaint by calling or visiting the office.
After you file a complaint, the Commission will send a copy of your complaint to your employer who will then have a chance to respond. From there, an investigator will take over your case, collect information regarding your claim and then make a decision as to whether or not there is reasonable cause to believe that your civil rights have been violated. If the investigator finds reasonable cause, you and your employer will be required to enter a settlement stage. If you cannot reach a settlement, you case will go to a public hearing.
You might decide to go through the federal courts instead of the Oklahoma Human Rights Commission. To do so, you’ll have to file a request with the EEOC for a “Right to Sue” letter. In Oklahoma, you won’t be able to go directly through the court system. Only the Commission can file this type of case in the courts.
It’s up to employees and employers both to know their rights and responsibilities when it comes to sexual discrimination in the workplace. Employers should always keep posted a current Oklahoma Complete Labor Law Poster.
I would like to tell you about the Oklahoma state discrimination posters. They contain information about the anti-discrimination laws that Oklahoma enforces for workers. The Oklahoma state discrimination posters are required to be displayed in a conspicuous area in the workplace. This means the Okalahoma state discrimination posters must be where they are easily seen by all employees.
The Oklahoma state discrimination posters let an employee know that they can’t be discriminated against because of their race, religion, age (if at least 40 years old), disability, color, national origin, and sex. No person who files a complaint can be discriminated against because he/she filed a complaint of discrimination.
The Oklahoma Human Rights Commission enforces the law that requires employers to display the Oklahoma state discrimination posters. The Commission also protects worker who have been illegally discriminated against at work. The Commission works hand-in-hand with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to prevent and eliminate discrimination in the workplace.
If a person has fallen victim to discrimination in the workplace, that person can file a claim with the Oklahoma Human Rights Commission. There is no fee for filing a claim and an attorney is not needed though one may be obtained if the alleged victim prefers to have one. All complaints must be notarized and filed with the Commission within one hundred and eighty days from the last incident of discrimination.
The Oklahoma state discrimination posters must be placed in an area where all employees will have a good opportunity to see them. It is the responsibility of the employers’ to find an appropriate place to display the poster. It is up to the employees to know where the Oklahoma state discrimination posters are located and what information they contain. If the Oklahoma state discrimination posters don’t contain the correct information and/or aren’t placed in an appropriate area, it is a violation of the law.
Oklahoma, like every other state, has very specific laws when it comes to discrimination. The state must post these laws openly for employees and patrons to see, if they choose to find out more information about the particulars. The Oklahoma Complete Labor Law poster is currently available with all of the updated information.
While I was researching the specifics of the Oklahoma discrimination notice, I noted that the traditional human characteristics are not allowed to be discriminated against: race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or handicap.
However what is different about Oklahoma is that disability cases are treated differently than other discrimination cases because the state allows private lawsuits to be filed – but only for disability discrimination. For the other discrimination claims, workers cannot file a claim in the court of law and must instead turn to the Oklahoma Human Rights Commission (OHRC). However, if an individual feels that he or she has been discriminated against, he or she can files what’s known as a “private right of action” only in cases related to disability. When they file for disability, they do not have to first register the charge with the OHRC.
As a result of Oklahoma’s law that individuals cannot file discrimination lawsuits (except for disability) I have found that many workers file their suits with the federal government instead. In order to file a case based on a federal claim, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) must issue what’s called a “Dismissal and Notice of Rights.”
A lawsuit must then be filed within 90 days of receipt of the notice. If an individual feels that he or she has been discriminated against and wishes to file with the state, he or she must file within 180 days of the alleged discrimination. The EEOC and OHRC have a work-sharing agreement with one another, meaning that individuals need only to file with one organization in order to communicate with both (the organizations communicate internally.)