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Texaco Discrimination Case Study

Texaco Discrimination Case Study

The racial discrimination lawsuit filed against Texaco in the mid-1990’s, signaled the coming of age for the advancement of colored people and minorities. The case centered on a class-action suit filed, preliminarily by a few employees, but later was joined by approximately 1400 other employees. The facts have been presented were based on the testimony of some of the employees who felt they were discriminated against. Several experts were brought in to ascertain whether the facts were true. Several employees had stated that they were passed-up for promotion by their white counterparts. The claim was made that in many situations, Texaco did not advance minorities, women, blacks and other employees because it preferred its white male employees instead. There were pay gaps in positions of the same nature between the white male employees and others. Moreover, it was claimed that the percentage of upper management comprised of minorities and women was minimal compared to white males. The facts were collected by experts who were working for the government, who at the time had a strict policy of actively improving equality in the workplace. At the same time, civil rights groups such as the NAACP were pushing the government and the courts into bringing light onto the situation with Texaco and to act swiftly to resolve the issue in favor of the plaintiffs. Some facts, however, were not seriously considered as to why non-white employees were passed-over for promotion, had lesser salaries, and were underrepresented in the upper echelons of upper management. For instance, the issue of work experience with Texaco and with other corporations in the related field; qualifications, level of higher education, technical knowledge, the ability to work in a high-pressure environment with other employees, and the motivation to better themselves professionally as well as the working environment around them. It also came about that a secret recording surfaced, where Texaco executives allegedly used racial slurs against the plaintiffs in the case. Moreover, allegations surfaced that, when learning about the recording, the executives attempted to have the evidence destroyed. (Jet Magazine, 1996)

The surfacing of the audio tape, which created a media frenzy, made the seemingly uninteresting case, a worldwide story. The eventual fallout exposed the weaknesses in a company’s structure that resonated throughout the business world. Significant changes were made in order to address a problem that had plagued the corporate world, but was never addressed. The feeling of worthlessness and disenfranchisement amongst the black employees of Texaco was a catalyst that fueled that push toward equal opportunity employment. Several agencies, that for years wanted to bring about change in employer relations with the black community, jumped on the chance to even out the playing field for all qualified employees, especially those, who had been denied equal treatment, which the law promised them. Similarly, around the same time, a left-leaning executive administration, headed by Bill Clinton jumped at the opportunity to deal with the issue of underrepresentation of blacks in the work force, and implemented drastic changes. The reverberating effects of the recording, which was made by an employee of the company, completely changed the rules of the game, which went in favor of the plaintiffs. The employee handed the recording over to the plaintiffs because he was laid off, and since he was the note taker at the meeting, he had to record the conversations in case he missed something. His subsequent loss of job, showed the lack of trust in the company, and the willingness of disgruntled employees to retaliate against their bigoted employers.(Nethercutt, 2002)

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