Senior BP executive told her braided hair and African dress made other staff feel 'uncomfortable' and to 'save it for Black History Month'
- Melphine Evans, a black female executive at BP, says she was told to 'alert her colleagues in advance' before showing up to work wearing 'ethnic' clothing
A black female executive at British oil giant BP is suing the company, alleging she was told that the clothing she wore was inappropriate, and should only be worn 'during ‘culture day,’ black history month or special diversity events.'
Melphine Evans was vice president and CFO at two BP subsidiaries before she was fired.
According to the suit, filed with the Orange County Superior Court this week, Evans says that her supervisors told her that her dashiki and braided hair made other employees 'uncomfortable.'
Lawsuit: Melphine Evans is suing British oil giant BP, alleging she was told that the clothing she wore was inappropriate, and should only be worn during ¿culture day,¿ black history month or special diversity events
Dress down: According to the suit, filed with the Orange County Superior Court this week, Evans says that her supervisors told her that her dashiki and braided hair made other employees 'uncomfortable'
Melphine Evans is suing BP Products North America, her former BP West Coast Products office in La Palma and nine individuals.
Evans was told, 'You intimidate and make your colleagues uncomfortable by wearing ethnic clothing and ethnic hairstyles,' according to the suit, as reported by Courthouse News.
'If you insist on wearing ethnic clothing/hairstyles, you should only do so during 'culture day,' black history month or special diversity events/days. ... 'If you are going to wear ethnic clothing, you should alert people in advance that you will be wearing something ethnic.''
Evans’ supervisors and defendants in the case, Rita Griffin and Nick Elmslie, allegedly told her that they were terminating her employment because she 'did not get along well with her teammates and colleagues.'
No diversity here: Discomfort making? Ms. Evans was told 'If you are going to wear ethnic clothing, you should alert people in advance that you will be wearing something ethnic'
But Evans’ official 360 evaluative performance feedback reviews, completed by colleagues that were selected by Griffin and Elmslie, indicate that Evans was considered 'a people person' who 'engages her entire organization and is sincere in her desire to ensure all are valued and heard.'
Evans joined BP in 2001, worked in several leadership positions and was sent to the La Palma facility's finance office in 2008.
Evans states in her lawsuit that her employer made up 'bullying and overly aggressive behavior' complaints used to fire her to cover up 'racist and sexist comments and actions and ... hostile and discriminatory treatment that was inconsistent with her similarly situated white counterparts at BP.'
The suit quotes a performance feedback review that allegedly 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 in a statement, 'However, BP treats all employees fairly. BP disagrees with the claims and will vigorously defend the suit.'
Edited by JoliePoufiasse - Dec 10 2013 at 12:29pm