Former BP executive Melphine Evans has sued her former employer in California’s Orange County Superior Court, saying she was fired by British Petroleum Oil Co. and replaced with a younger white male, after a series of racial complaints, the Courthouse News Service reports.
According to the compliant, Evans insists the firing was due to her braided hair and “ethnic” attire, including a love for dashikis.
“You intimidate and make your colleagues uncomfortable by wearing ethnic clothing and ethnic hairstyles,” the woman was told, according to the 24-page lawsuit. “‘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.”
But, the executives at BP tell another story. They claim Evans lost her job because she “did not get along well with her teammates and colleagues” and engaged in “bullying and overly aggressive behavior.” (Although her yearly evaluation stated: “Melphine is a people person. She engages her entire organization and is sincere in her desire to ensure all are valued and heard.”)
“Generally, BP does not publicly discuss personnel issues,” BP spokesman Scott Dean said. “However, BP treats all employees fairly. BP disagrees with the claims and will vigorously defend the suit.”
Evans is seeking unspecified damages for race and gender discrimination, harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination.
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