Liberty Energy, Inc., operating as Liberty Oilfield Services, LLC, is facing a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for subjecting three mechanics to discrimination and harassment at its Odessa facility in Texas.
Company Subjected Black and Hispanic Field Mechanics to Verbal Abuse
The lawsuit alleges that a Black mechanic and two Hispanic co-workers were subjected to a hostile work environment and derogatory remarks based on their heritage. Despite reporting discriminatory treatment to supervisors, management, and Human Resources, Liberty Oilfield failed to take effective corrective or remedial action.
The EEOC claims that following the Black mechanic’s report, he was coerced by management into performing undesirable tasks and faced isolation from his peers. With no meaningful action taken by the company to improve the workplace atmosphere and address the discriminatory assignments, the mechanic felt compelled to resign.
Understand Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Such conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race and national origin. The EEOC filed a lawsuit (Civil Action No. 7:23-cv-100) in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Midland-Odessa Division, after attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through conciliation. The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief for the three mechanics, including an order prohibiting Liberty Oilfield from engaging in future discriminatory treatment.
Joel Clark, a trial attorney in the EEOC’s Dallas District Office, emphasized that workers should not be subjected to a hostile work environment due to their race or ethnicity. He stated that employees have a reasonable expectation that their employer will make genuine efforts to maintain a respectful workplace.
Robert Canino, Dallas EEOC Regional Attorney, noted that it is not uncommon for prejudice to affect multiple groups of workers at the same worksite. When requests for relief from discrimination are disregarded by the employer, the negative impact continues. Canino stressed the EEOC’s responsibility to seek relief, broader corrective measures, and preventive actions against discrimination through federal court intervention.
This case serves as a stark reminder to small and midsize business owners of the legal consequences and reputational damage associated with employment discrimination. Violating federal laws that prohibit discrimination based on race and national origin can lead to severe penalties, including compensatory and punitive damages.
Business owners must create and maintain a workplace culture that values diversity, inclusion, and respect. By fostering an environment free from discrimination and harassment, businesses can attract and retain talented employees while avoiding costly legal battles and safeguarding their reputation.
The EEOC remains committed to advancing equal opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination.