Former BP Exec Told To Save Her African Dress For Black History Month

December 12, 2013  |  

Imagine being told your clothes were intimidating? That is what Melphine Evans says she was told by her employer who eventually fired her. So now Evans is suing British Petroleum Products North America, her former BP West Coast Products office in La Palma, CA, and nine individuals.

According to Evans in court papers, she was told, “You intimidate and make your colleagues uncomfortable by wearing ethnic clothing and ethnic hairstyles,” reports 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,” the complaint adds.

Evans says she was also told, “If you are going to wear ethnic clothing, you should alert people in advance that you will be wearing something ethnic.” So basically she was told to check in with her job every morning before she got dressed to make sure her outfit was suitable.

“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,'” reports The Daily Mail.

However, in Evans’ official 360 performance evaluation, which was completed by colleagues selected by Griffin and Elmslie, it says that Evans is “a people person” who “engages her entire organization and is sincere in her desire to ensure all are valued and heard.”

She joined BP in 2001 and worked in various leadership positions before being transferred to the La Palma facility’s finance office in 2008.

Evans feels she was unjustly fired. In her lawsuit Evans claims her employer made up “bullying and overly aggressive behavior” complaints used to fire her in order 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.”

BP spokesman Scott Dean said in a statement, ”Generally, BP does not publicly discuss personnel issues. However, BP treats all employees fairly. BP disagrees with the claims and will vigorously defend the suit.”

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