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BP Exploration and Production agrees to pay $5.4 million to resolve investigation into hiring of women by BP oil spill contractors

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and BP Exploration and Production, Inc have announced a voluntary resolution of an EEOC investigation relating to the hiring of women by contractors providing temporary labor for the Gulf oil spill response in 2010. Under the agreement, BP and its contractors will pay up to $5.4 million to a yet-to-be-determined class of women in the Gulf region who applied for jobs with oil spill response contractors. Applicants seeking compensation may be required to submit information to support their claims. Undistributed money from the settlement fund will be donated to a Gulf-area charity that benefits women in the workplace.

In addition, the agreement includes contractual safeguards requiring contractors to abide by equal employment opportunity laws, training for BP administrators who engage contractors, and a designated BP employee who will monitor the terms of the agreement with the EEOC. BP also plans to partner with others in the industry to share lessons learned during the spill in order to further emphasize the importance of equal opportunity in hiring, even under circumstances as challenging as the events in 2010. The company will also make efforts to ensure that contractors used during emergent situations in the future are as committed to equal employment opportunity as BP.

The EEOC’s investigation was based on concerns raised by several women in Louisiana and Alabama that certain contractors participating in the oil spill response did not consider them for the cleanup effort because of their gender. The resolution, memorialized in a confidential conciliation agreement, avoids protracted litigation and covers a class of female applicants in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

There has not been a determination that BP violated antidiscrimination laws and BP denies that it has engaged in any wrongdoing.