Schlumberger’s Unsafe Environment for Female Workers
The world’s top oilfield services company in the world is facing an Amended Class Action Complaint from two former employees who allegedly experienced illegal activity at work. In this amended lawsuit that was filed by Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP, original Plaintiff and Class Representative Sara Saidman is joined by another Plaintiff and Class Representative, Jessica Cheatham. The Plaintiffs are represented by Michael D. Palmer, Nicole E. Wiitala, and Carolin E. Guentert of Sanford Heisler Sharp and Todd Slobin and Melinda Arbuckle of Shellist Lazarz Slobin.
What’s the story behind this $100 million federal class-action lawsuit?
Schlumberger Technology Corporation has allegedly fostered a hostile work environment for its female employees. Sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation are reportedly pervasive throughout the male-dominated company, whose field-based positions are occupied by merely 5% of females.
Plaintiffs allege widespread acts of harassment and discrimination from their male co-workers as well as no support from the company’s Human Resources department. Instead of helping employees who are victims of illegal acts on the job, HR reportedly dismissed the complaints because “Guys just do that. This is a man’s field, so they’re bound to say stuff.”
Women on working oil rigs are allegedly sexually harassed, groped, leered at, objectified, threatened, and labeled as “cunts,” “bitches,” and “sluts” who are undeserving of equal pay by their male co-workers on the rig.
Ms. Cheatham, the newest Plaintiff to the case, reported several breaches of workplace laws and countless acts of unwelcome comments and gestures. They include:
- One of her male colleagues threatened to “bend [her] over [his] knee and spank [her]” and used inappropriate and crude sexual language when teaching her how to use a certain tool (such as describing one part of the tool as “the pussy”)
- A male colleague told her that she was “one of those girls working in the oilfield, trying to sleep around with men out here”
- She was accused of performing “special favors” of a sexual nature in order to get a promotion
- An employee told her that wearing shorts on the rig meant that she was “asking for it”
- Male workers told her that she did not deserve to work on rigs and, in one instance, called the Schlumberger office to request that she be replaced by a man
- The company retaliated against her for complaining about discrimination, eventually refusing to staff her on any rig unless she accepted a significant demotion and took a position in Alaska
As a result of these serious state and federal labor law violations, Michael D. Palmer, Nicole E. Wiitala, and Carolin E. Guentert of Sanford Heisler Sharp and Todd Slobin and Melinda Arbuckle of our firm, Shellist Lazarz Slobin LLP, are representing these brave women in their fight to “end [the] systemic discrimination and harassment that they and hundreds of other women have suffered while working at Schlumberger.”
Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP and Shellist Lazarz Slobin LLP are national public interest class-action litigation law firms that focuses on areas such as employment discrimination, wage and hour, and criminal/sexual violence matters. The firm filed the lawsuit with the United States District Court in the Houston division of the Southern District of Texas and will continue to amend the complaint as more Plaintiffs come forward.
For more information on this case, click here.