About Harassment Discrimination Wrongful Termination Unpaid Wages Improper Benefits

Court Documents

Summary of lawsuit

The lawsuit alleges that Mr. Taylor was employed by since 1975 at the Bayway Refinery in New Jersey. The refinery was owed by ConocoPhillips since 2002. Mr. Taylor was a Protestant who regularly attended church services on Sunday. He had worked at the refinery for over 20 years and only occasionally had to work Sundays.

In 2006, ConocoPhillips decided to have Mr. Taylor work a shift that would have him work every Sunday. Mr. Taylor thought that it would be a simply matter of simply asking for an occasional Sunday off. However, ConocoPhillips would not allow him to switch his shifts and required him to get a vacation day approved for each Sunday he wanted off. ConocoPhillips approved the first two such requests, but then denied the later requests. As such, Mr. Taylor was required to work every Sunday. Mr. Taylor then contacted the EEOC who brought this action on his behalf.

The main contention of the lawsuit is that ConocoPhillips did not engage in any that of interactive process with Mr. Taylor to determine if they could accommodate his religious beliefs. For ConocoPhillips, it was simply a take-it-or-leave-it policy.

In defending the lawsuit, ConocoPhillips decided to harass Mr. Taylor by asking him questions about psychological counseling that the EEOC claimed was "unrelated to the claims in the case." In particular, ConocoPhillips decided to ask "questions regarding whether he sought counseling treatment because of his divorce with his second wife, a divorce that took place over a year before the Defendant’s discriminatory conduct in this matter." (EEOC's appeal to District Court Judge for a Protective Order.).

Fortunately for Mr. Taylor, ConocoPhillips settled the case prior to having to testify into his private affairs. It is also telling of the merits of ConocoPhillips defense that they decided to focus on a divorce that had occurred years in the past rather than the discriminatory conduct that was as issue in the case.

As part of the consent decree, ConocoPhillips agreed to the following:

  1. Not to engage in discriminatory conduct in the future.
  2. Engaged in an interactive process each time an employee at the refinery requested a religious accommodation.
  3. Inform the EEOC in writing each time an employee requests a religious accommodation.
  4. Pay $20,000 in settlement. $7,500 paid to Mr. Taylor and $12,500 paid to a charity.
  5. Post a written notice in the refinery informing employees of their rights.
  6. Maintain an anti-discrimination policy.
  7. Provide 2 hours of training in anti-discrimination law to all current managers at the refinery.

While most of the above is simply ConocoPhillips agreeing to follow the law, the additional reporting requirements required by the EEOC will hopefully prevent ConocoPhillips from engaging in discrimination in the future -- at least at this one of their hundreds of locations nationwide.



©2010 Michael Tracy

All statements made with reference to a lawsuit only refer to the allegations made in the lawsuit. Allegations made in a complaint are simply what one party contends is true until the issue is determined by the court. This website only provides general information about publicly filed lawsuits and is not meant to be legal advice and does not serve to establish an attorney-client relationship. Any statements, on this page or elsewhere, are not guarantees of any outcome. Michael Tracy is a licensed attorney only in California. Law Offices of Michael Tracy, 2030 Main St. STE 1300, Irvine,CA 1-866-GOTOVERTIME