Tell BP, Ethnic Diversity Should Be Embraced, Not Punished

BP executive Melphine Evans says she was fired for wearing West African clothing and braided hair. But BP acts as if her lawsuit doesn’t matter just because Fair Employment and Housing isn’t pursuing her claim.

The former vice president says she was told by her supervisor at BP West Coast Products that the long, patterned dashiki top she wore was only appropriate on certain cultural days. Her lawsuit also claims that superiors complained that the style of her clothes and hair was causing her colleagues discomfort.

Even more absurd is the company‘s alleged warning to Evans that she needed to “alert” others ahead of time whenever she planned to dress in a way the company labeled as “ethnic.”

Both BP and Fair Employment and Housing should ensure that employees are not discriminated against just because their clothing and hairstyle reflect ancestral style and tradition.

Tell BP, ethnic diversity should be embraced, not punished!

We, the undersigned, say BP has no right to discriminate against work attire and hairstyle just because it reflects traditional culture.

In Evans’ case, the company’s objection seems to have nothing to do with neatness or professionalism  - that BP complained only because it decided Evans’ sense of style was  “ethnic” and somehow threatening to others. News sources also say that Evans was commended for her leadership abilities just before she was fired for complaining about company objections to her attire, and that she was replaced by a white male.

Even worse than firing Evans for honoring cultural tradition is BP’s excuse that it should ignore Evans’ complaints and its obligation to end discriminatory practices just because the Department of Fair Employment and Housing isn’t taking her case.

Based on the accusations, Evans’s suit claiming wrongful termination, race and gender discrimination, retaliation and harassment seems more than justified.

We request that BP start embracing ethnic diversity and stop punishing employees for expressing it.

Thanks for your time.

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