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BP agreed to pay $5.4 million to resolve a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigation into concerns that contractors providing temporary labor during the 2010 Gulf oil spill cleanup did not hire women because of their gender, the EEOC reported.
There has not been a determination that BP violated anti-discrimination laws, and BP denies it engaged in wrongdoing, according to the EEOC. BP and the EEOC are partnering on the voluntary resolution to ensure that contractors used in future situations are as committed to equal opportunity as BP is.
“BP has been and continues to be committed to being an industry leader when it comes to [equal employment opportunity] issues,” said Mike Utsler, president of BP’s Gulf Coast Restoration Organization. “BP looks forward to working with the EEOC to achieve our mutual goal of non-discriminatory hiring, even in the most extreme and time-sensitive situations. BP will not tolerate conduct by any contractor doing work for BP that does not comport with BP’s core value of equality in the workplace.”
The money will go to a yet-to-be-determined class of women in the Gulf region who applied for jobs with the oil spill response contractors. Any undistributed funds would go to a Gulf-area charity that benefits women in the workplace.
In addition, the agreement requires BP to abide by equal opportunity laws, train BP administrators who engage contractors and designate a BP employee to monitor the terms of the agreement.
The EEOC reported that BP will also partner with others in the industry to share lessons learned during the spill.
“Preventive action to ensure — even in an emergency — that civil rights laws are followed is at the foundation of the EEOC’s mission to stop and remedy unlawful workplace discrimination,” said Keith Hill, the EEOC’s New Orleans field office director. “We applaud BP’s willingness to aggressively combat sex discrimination in the workplace by sharing its experiences and best practices with its peers, requiring its contractors to comply with federal employment laws, and making a settlement fund available for qualified women who sought employment with BP’s contractors as part of the 2010 spill clean-up effort.”