A woman who once earned millions each year as an oil trader for BP America has filed a sex discrimination lawsuit against the company. Alison Myers alleges BP gave a prime piece of business to a less experienced male trader and ultimately fired her when she complained.
Myers joined BP as a London-based scheduler in 1996. In 1998, she began trading crude oil, eventually joining the company’s Warrenville office in 2000, where she was a member of the West African crude oil trading bench. In 2005, she was promoted to “book leader,” in charge of West African trades.
When a book leader position opened for the company’s most lucrative account, West Texas Intermediate, Myers alleges BP did not notify her. Instead, the company promoted a male junior trader.
About the same time, BP America retroactively changed performance benchmarks used to calculate bonuses for West African crude traders. The change cut Myers’ 2006 bonus by $775,720. Myers said she earned a $5.5 million bonus in 2006 and expected to earn just as much in 2007. (That was on top of a base salary of $163,000.) When she complained, she received a bad review and was eventually fired in July 2007.
Myers seeks $2.1 million in underpaid bonuses from 2005 and 2006, plus earnings from 2007—and $250 million in punitive damages!
BP America said her lawsuit is without merit, and the company would “vigorously” fight it.
Note: Many industry players are said to be secretly hoping this suit gets settled before BP has to release details about how much oil companies compensate their best-paid employees.
- Follow the discipline rules in your handbook to defeat discrimination claims
- Don't let lawsuit fear stop appropriate discipline
- Carefully document RIF strategy to guard against discrimination claims
- Renhill Staffing pays for discrimination that 'Didn't happen'
- Check for job search if employee was 'forced' to quit