The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed suit against energy giant Halliburton Energy Services Inc for subjecting two employees to national origin and religious discrimination. The EEOC's suit also charged that Halliburton unlawfully retaliated against one of the employees by firing him for reporting the mistreatment of employees.
According to the EEOC, Hassan Snoubar, of Syrian national origin, began working for Halliburton as an operator-assistant oil field worker, primarily in Odessa and Kilgore, Texas, in about August 2012. During his employment, Snoubar, a US citizen, was subjected to taunts and name calling regarding both his national origin and his Muslim religion. He was frequently called derogatory names such as "camel jockey" and was accused of being associated with ISIS and terrorism by supervisors and co-workers. Mir Ali, a Muslim co-worker of Indian national origin, was similarly subjected to the hostile environment. The two men were made to openly suffer insults including radio broadcasts of such offensive characterizations that were heard by several current and former Halliburton employees. After being continually criticized about their cultural attire, appearance and even claims that ‘their people’ engaged in bestiality, Snoubar expressed his concerns to management and human resources, but was then fired. Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from discriminating based on national origin and religion. The EEOC filed its lawsuit in US District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division (EEOC v. Halliburton Energy services, Inc., Civil Action No.3:18-CV-01736-N), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
EEOC Trial Attorney Joel Clark said the case should serve as a message that such behavior will not be tolerated in the workplace, stating ‘no one should have to arrive at the workplace and be taunted or persecuted for his religious beliefs or national origin.’ EEOC Dallas District Office Regional Attorney Robert A. Canino added, ‘Passivity in the face of this kind of abuse is certainly enough for an employer to be held accountable, but the participation by supervisors in the mean-spirited degradation of an employee's ethnic heritage and faith is unconscionable as well as unlawful. The oil field environment is not to be a free-fire zone for destructive energy in the form of open bigotry.’ Houston-based Halliburton Energy Services, Inc has over 55,000 employees.