BP Oil Executive Says She Was Fired for Ethnic Clothing and Hairstyles

BY: - 11 Dec '13 | On the Web

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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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  • Valerie Tomlin

    This is a surprisingly shocking news story. The truth is, I thought this blatant form of discrimination in the workplace, against afro-textured hairstyles and afro centric clothes had, at least, gone underground. Assigned to the annals of ancient history. I am in the final stages of writing a book about this kind of injustice and would like to find out whether Melphine Evans story is just the tip of the iceberg and many more stories reside just under the surface. If you have a similar story I would love to share it in my book.

    • PB3

      Valerie Tomlin, you begin your comments by saying “This is a surprisingly shocking news story…at least, gone underground.” We have to get our heads out of the sand and realize as long as white males head up most of the major corporations… If people think this is an underground act, its because the media and these corporations keep it out of the headlines…(who controls the major media outlets?)…yes, we would think social media would bring these things to the surface…but most of social media likes garbage info and thinks the world is post racial…the stories and situations like this are out there…just google it!