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BP settles sex discrimination suit for $5.4 million

The multinational petroleum company, BP, and some of its contractors have agreed to pay a $5.4 million settlement in response to a gender bias lawsuit. The sex discrimination claim was filed by a group of women who allege they were denied jobs in the aftermath of the company's 2010 oil spill due to their gender. The class-action suit included women from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

BP has denied any wrongdoing, and after conducting an investigation, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced that if found no discrimination law violations. But according to the EEOC, BP has agreed to the settlement to demonstrate the company's commitment to non-discriminatory hiring practices, even in emergency situations. BP has stated that it will not tolerate contractors that do not value workplace equality.

In addition to the $5.4 million payment, which will be available to qualified females who applied for employment with BP's contractors after the spill, BP's settlement includes additional provisions. The settlement will require BP contractors follow employment laws. Furthermore, the agreement designates a company employee who will supervise the settlement and provide employment training for BP personnel who are in charge of hiring outside contractors.

The EEOC has praised BP's response to the hiring discrimination lawsuit stating that the company is setting a good example for its peers by requiring that its contractors follow federal employment laws. The EEOC has also shown support for BP's method of distributing settlement funds. Any money that is left over after distribution to the female claimants will be designated to a charity that assists women in the workplace in the Gulf region.

Source: The Houston Chronicle, "BP to settle spill-related gender bias case," Emily Pickrell, June 28, 2012

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