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Press Release 11-12-2019

Nabors Corporate Services and C&J Well Services Settle EEOC Race Discrimination Suit for $1.2 Million

 Oilfield Services Company Discriminated Against Black Workers, Subjecting them to a Hostile Work Environment, Denying them High Paying Assignments, and Retaliating Against those who Complained, Agency Alleged

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Nabors Corporate Services, Inc. and C&J Well Services, Inc., two Houston-based oil field services companies, have agreed to pay nine Black employees and one of their White co-workers a total of $1,225,000 to settle a race discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency announced today. 

The EEOC's lawsuit alleged that Nabors Corporate Services, Inc., and its operational successor, C&J Well Services, Inc., violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by subjecting black oilfield workers at their Pleasanton, Texas yard to a hostile environment that included the pervasive use of racial slurs in the workplace. The lawsuit further alleged that the company's managers intentionally assigned Black employees to lower paying jobs and fired workers in retaliation for reporting racial harassment. The EEOC alleged that one Nabors worker who was told by the human resources department not to speak negatively about a harasser was later terminated when he reported a racist social media post shared between employees. According to the EEOC, another Black employee was called a racial slur at a meeting in front of supervisors and was then fired for reporting his objection.  

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, including harassment and retaliation, forbids such alleged conduct. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division (EEOC v. Nabors Corporate Services, Inc., et al., Civil Action No. 5:16-cv-00758) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through its conciliation process.

"Workplace harassment, including the pervasive use of racial slurs and circulating racist social media posts, have absolutely no place at the worksite. The EEOC is committed to eliminating this unlawful conduct and to protecting the rights of employees," said EEOC Trial Attorney Philip Moss of the EEOC's San Antonio Field Office. 

The two-year consent decree resolving this case, approved by U.S. District Judge Frederick Biery, requires the companies to provide training to their employees informing them of their rights and protections under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under the consent decree, the companies will revise their policies regarding race discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Going forward, the companies committed not to employ four individuals who the EEOC identified as having participated in the race harassment.

Eduardo Juarez, supervisory trial attorney in the EEOC's San Antonio Field Offices, stated, "When managers give high paying assignments based on race and permit the use of degrading racial slurs, they are engaging in practices which violate the law. This substantial settlement should signal to employers that the EEOC is serious about stopping race-based harassment in the oil and gas industry."

EEOC Regional Attorney Robert Canino added, "We must all remain watchful that industries which have jobsites in rural areas are not overlooked when it comes to ensuring a safe workplace that is free from hostile behavior based on race." 

Two of the class members were represented by the Law Office of Jeffrey A. Goldberg of San Antonio, Texas.

In October 2019, the EEOC's Dallas District Office also announced a settlement by Consent Decree resolving a suit against another Houston-based oil business, Halliburton Energy Services, Inc., in which the agency alleged harassment against two Muslim workers, one of Syrian and one of Indian national origin.   

The San Antonio Field Office is part of the EEOC's Dallas District Office, which is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement, and agency litiga­tion in Texas and parts of New Mexico. The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates