Woman claims discrimination in suit against oilfield company
BISMARCK -- A Minneapolis law firm has sued a Houston-based oil company in U.S. District Court for North Dakota in Bismarck on behalf of an Ogden, Utah, woman who says she was subject to gender-based discrimination while working as an oilfield pu...
BISMARCK - A Minneapolis law firm has sued a Houston-based oil company in U.S. District Court for North Dakota in Bismarck on behalf of an Ogden, Utah, woman who says she was subject to gender-based discrimination while working as an oilfield pump operator near Williston.
Cindy Marchello alleges that her former employer, C & J Energy Services, subjected her to “intolerable working conditions as to cause her to quit her job.”
Those conditions include subjection to gender-related insults and indignities from supervisors and co-workers, forcing her to do the work usually assigned to a group of people, forcing her to do office-related work for which she was not qualified and threatening her life and well-being if she continued to work for the company, according to Halunen Law, the firm representing Marchello.
According to a statement from Halunen Law, Marchello started working for C & J Energy Services in March 2012, making $21 an hour while working 21 12-hour days straight, followed by 21 days of paid rest. Marchello alleges that her hours were cut short, and she was denied overtime, after a contractor complained to her boss about a woman working in the oilfield.
After she was assigned to desk duty, Marchello said one of her responsibilities was to handle employee payroll.
“In so doing, the complaint alleges, Marchello learned she was being paid $2 an hour less than men with equivalent experience and tenure with the company, a clear violation of North Dakota’s equal pay for equal work law. When she complained, her supervisor told her to ‘shut her mouth’ if she wanted to keep her job, according to the complaint,” the statement by Halunen Law read.
Marchello further alleged that, after filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, she was subjected to further verbal abuse. She alleged that one supervisor told her, “You will suffer a cruel, slow death at my hands.”
Marchello resigned from C & J Energy Services in October and filed the suit in federal court in Bismarck on Monday.
Clayton Halunen, managing partner for the firm representing Marchello, called the treatment nearly sinister in scope.
“It’s shocking to think that a woman employee could be treated in such a discriminatory manner today by an American company operating in an American state,” he said.
A spokesperson for C & J Energy Services did not respond to multiple calls for comment.