Melphine Evans is suing her former employer, British Petroleum Oil Co., for unspecified damages, citing “race and gender discrimination, harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination”. Defendants include BP Products North America, BP West Coast Products located at her former office in La Palma, California, and nine of her former colleagues. Evans claims that she was fired for wearing dashikis and braided hairstyles, and was replaced by a young white male.
According to Courthouse News Service, Evans says she was harassed by supervisors, including such statements like “You intimidate and make your colleagues uncomfortable by wearing ethnic clothing and ethnic hairstyles (‘Dashikis,’ ‘twists,’ ‘braids/cornrows’),” and her dashikis and braids should be reserved for “culture day, Black History Month or special diversity events.”
You intimidate and make your colleagues uncomfortable by wearing ethnic clothing and ethnic hairstyles.
Starting with the company in 2001, Evans climbed the ranks to become vice president and CFO of two BP auxiliaries. She received glowing performance reviews, calling her a people person, but her former employer claims she did not get along well with colleagues.
Evans is being represented by Michael Taitelman, with Freedman + Taitelman, of Los Angeles. BP spokesman Scott Dean responded to the accusations, saying, “Generally, BP does not publicly discuss personnel issues. However, BP treats all employees fairly. BP disagrees with the claims and will vigorously defend the suit.”
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