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BP seeks to eliminate discriminatory practices

It's always good when an employer works hard to implement a solid working environment. If a company has had a history of employment discrimination, the best thing that the business can do is work on a positive, discriminatory-free future. That was the case in a recent story, which dates back to 2010.

Recently, BP Exploration and Production Inc., its contractors and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission entered into a resolution. The case is regarding an EEOC investigation of allegations that the company participated in discriminatory practices in employing women as temporary employees during the response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. As Florida residents know, much assistance was needed in the clean-up, and various individuals were hired on a contract basis. Under the resolution, BP and its contractors will pay up to $5.4 million to former female applicants. The resolution is confidential; however, sources know that it avoids litigation.

In reaching the final agreement, the EEOC did not go to the level of determining whether BP violated anti-discrimination laws. Nevertheless, an EEOC district director explains, "We are delighted to partner with BP in ensuring the future compliance with employment laws in the Gulf region and across the country." According to the BP Gulf Coast Restoration Organization President, the company does not support discriminatory hiring.

The EEOC observed that BP was willing to combat any discriminatory practices by sharing best practices with its peers. It also required contractors to comply with federal laws.

In the end, a settlement fund is now available for the qualified women who sought employment with BP's contractors for a position in the clean-up efforts. A source reports that any leftover money under the settlement will be donated to a charity that benefits women in the workplace. It's great to see businesses working toward a better employment future.

Source: The Times-Picayune, "BP agrees to $5.4 million settlement of complaints of gender bias in oil spill cleanup hiring," Mark Schleifstein, June 29, 2012

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