Longtime employee alleges BP practiced gender discrimination

By Annie Hunt | Feb 8, 2016

HOUSTON — A former BP legal employee is suing the corporation, alleging discrimination and wrongful termination.

Elizabeth Yordanoff filed a lawsuit Dec. 23 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas against BP America Inc. and BP Corporation North America Inc., alleging violations of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act as amended by the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, the 1963 Equal Pay Act and the 2003 Illinois Equal Pay Act. 

According to the complaint, Yordanoff began working in a legal position for Amoco Oil Company in Chicago, in 1986, and she became an employee of BP when British Petroleum merged with Amoco in 1998. Altogether, she worked almost 29 years for Amoco/BP until she alleges she was illegally discharged July 30, 2014.

The lawsuit states Yordanoff was dispatched to Mobile, Alabama, in 2010 in response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The plaintiff alleges upon her return she was subject to harassment and began to identify possible violations of Health, Safety, Security, and Environment (HSSE) in BP's legal office. In 2011, Yordanoff filed a code of conduct breach report against BP Legal, the suit says, despite being advised to destroy the information.

In 2011, the plaintiff sought legal counsel to resolve discrimination issues, but she says she remained working at BP until certain divestitures were complete. The plaintiff was fired in July 2014, the lawsuit states, after returning from medical leave for alleged violations of expense reporting procedures and code of conduct, along with an engagement of a contractor hired to support response efforts, all of which she says were false.

Yordanoff seeks equitable relief, lost past and future wages and benefits, compensatory and punitive damages, attorney fess, expert witness fees, taxable court costs, pre and post-judgment interests and a trial by jury. She is represented by attorneys J. Alfred Southerland of Shellist Lazarz Slobin LLP in Houston, and Jeffrey L. Diamond of J. Diamond and Associates, also in Houston.

Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas case number 4:15-cv-03721

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