BP allegedly sent an email telling its contractors in the Gulf oil cleanup not to hire vessels owned by Vietnamese- and Cambodian-Americans, Courthouse News quoted a class action lawsuit filed in New Orleans as claiming
The complaint involves BP’s Vessels of Opportunity (V.o.O.) program, which hires local fishing boats to join the cleanup. It was part of BP’s efforts to mitigate the losses suffered by fishermen who were grounded by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Over half of the fishermen affected by the oil spill were Vietnamese and Cambodian Americans; however, of the 5000 marine vessels hired, only 350, or less than 10%, were Vietnamese or Cambodian, the federal court action claims.
The reason Viets were so grossly underrepresented, the 41 plaintiffs allege, is because BP expressly instructed its V.o.O. contractors not to hire Vietnamese and Cambodians. The plaintiffs are seeking class action status to represent 4,000 professional fishermen.
BP hired DRC Emergency Services and Danos and Curole Marine Contractors to manage the V.o.O. program, and, “during the implementation of the V.o.O. program, BP sent out e-mail messages to [the contractors] that specifically demanded that they not hire vessels owned by Vietnamese and Cambodian Americans,” the complaint states.
The complaint alleges that the contractors complied with BP’s demand and “colluded in this despicable order by limiting the number of Vietnamese and Cambodian Americans that they hired.”
Not that getting on the V.o.O. program may have been such a great deal either: Many vessels hired for V.O.O. have filed lawsuits claiming they weren’t paid.