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Why are gas prices so high? BP suit may provide partial answer

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

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.

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