Drilling Company agrees to pay 12 million dollar settlement

Drilling company Patterson-UTI Energy Inc. on Tuesday agreed to pay $12.2 million to settle the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s lawsuit accusing it of discriminating against its minority workers and allowing a hostile work environment.  The settlement will compensate minority workers who were subject to discrimination since 2006.  This is not the first time a this company has been sued for discrimination.  Back in 2007  Don Alveshere is a Native American, specifically a Dakota Santee Sioux of the Sisseton-Wahpeton band of Eastern Sioux from the Spirit Lake Tribe in North Dakota; he worked at the Patterson-UTI rigs in Gilcrest from July 2005 to November 2005. During that time, the lawsuit alleges that his direct supervisor, the Relief Tool Pusher, harassed him and hyper-scrutinized his work. In addition, the lawsuit alleges that a co-worker made comments to Alveshere such as, “how did you get off the reservation?” and “do you do drugs” and “the reason I don’t like you people is that you lie.” The Commission alleges that after Alveshere complained, the company did nothing to stop the harassment, and allowed the situation to continue, ultimately resulting in Alveshere being forced to quit his employment. This is a large settlement against a large company in the growing energy markets.  Many El Paso, Texas and Las Cruces, New Mexico employees have gone to work in the premium basin and have been subject to wrongful termination.  When the oil industry was booming employers could get away with more because wrongfully terminated employees would simply obtain another job; but with oil prices falling and production falling many terminated workers are not able to easily find replacement work and are seeking employment  attorneys to pursue their legal rights.

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