|About||Harassment||Discrimination||Wrongful Termination||Unpaid Wages||Improper Benefits|
Summary of lawsuit
The lawsuit alleges that Mr. Taylor was employed by since 1975 at the Bayway Refinery in New Jersey. The refinery was owed by ConocoPhillips since 2002. Mr. Taylor was a Protestant who regularly attended church services on Sunday. He had worked at the refinery for over 20 years and only occasionally had to work Sundays.
In 2006, ConocoPhillips decided to have Mr. Taylor work a shift that would have him work every Sunday. Mr. Taylor thought that it would be a simply matter of simply asking for an occasional Sunday off. However, ConocoPhillips would not allow him to switch his shifts and required him to get a vacation day approved for each Sunday he wanted off. ConocoPhillips approved the first two such requests, but then denied the later requests. As such, Mr. Taylor was required to work every Sunday. Mr. Taylor then contacted the EEOC who brought this action on his behalf.
The main contention of the lawsuit is that ConocoPhillips did not engage in any that of interactive process with Mr. Taylor to determine if they could accommodate his religious beliefs. For ConocoPhillips, it was simply a take-it-or-leave-it policy.
In defending the lawsuit, ConocoPhillips decided to harass Mr. Taylor by asking him questions about psychological counseling that the EEOC claimed was "unrelated to the claims in the case." In particular, ConocoPhillips decided to ask "questions regarding whether he sought counseling treatment because of his divorce with his second wife, a divorce that took place over a year before the Defendant’s discriminatory conduct in this matter." (EEOC's appeal to District Court Judge for a Protective Order.).
Fortunately for Mr. Taylor, ConocoPhillips settled the case prior to having to testify into his private affairs. It is also telling of the merits of ConocoPhillips defense that they decided to focus on a divorce that had occurred years in the past rather than the discriminatory conduct that was as issue in the case.
As part of the consent decree, ConocoPhillips agreed to the following:
While most of the above is simply ConocoPhillips agreeing to follow the law, the additional reporting requirements required by the EEOC will hopefully prevent ConocoPhillips from engaging in discrimination in the future -- at least at this one of their hundreds of locations nationwide.