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Age discrimination at Shell Motiva Port Arthur Refinery?

They would target the individuals they wanted to get rid of and then they would pressure them to accept the severance package.

FROM A POSTING ON OUR SHELL BLOG BY “oldwhitemaleon Mar 26th, 2012

I recently read on this website about the employee at Motiva Port Arthur who has a pending lawsuit against Motiva Port Arthur for age discrimination.

I’ve seen Motiva Norco use this same practice for years. The people that were usually offered severance packages were white male employees over 50 years old. They informed them that they were poor performers or redundant in their job position and that if they didn’t accept the severance package they would likely be terminated at a later date and not be offered the severance package.

These are some examples at Motiva Norco that were the result of the 2009 Staff Workforce Reductions. The employees were white male employees over 50 years old.

David A was offered a severance package because of redundancy. David worked in the training group and was replaced by a younger employee.

Albert J was offered a severance package because of redundancy. Albert worked in the training group and was replaced by a younger employee.

David V was offered a severance package because of redundancy. David worked in operations and was replaced with Donald L.

Peter R was offered a severance package because of redundancy. Peter was replaced by Ronnie P who was promoted.

Phil V was offered a severance package because of redundancy. Phil was replaced by Ernest V who was promoted.

This also took place during the staff reductions in 2004 which affected mostly white male employees over 50 years old.

In one particular department, Control Systems Engineering, the manager Wendy B informed four white male employees over 50 who were all Viet Nam veterans that they were low performers. They worked for Shell/Motiva nearly 30 years and never had a poor evaluation prior to this. Three of the employees accepted a severance package and one of them declined and stayed a couple of years longer before eventually retiring.

When you accepted and signed off on the severance package you gave up all of your rights to sue at a later date. This was the main reason Shell used the severance package program. They would target the individuals they wanted to get rid of and then they would pressure them to accept the severance package. You would never hear any details about the people that filed charges or sued because Shell would settle out of court with a gag order and pay them over several years. If they disclosed anything about the case they would jeopardize their settlement.

Shell would use this settlement method whenever charges were filed regarding race or age discrimination. They didn’t want to deal with the PR issue involving these types of cases.

“oldwhitemale” posting ends…

BOOK COVER SCREENSHOT FROM Age Discrimination in the American Workplace: Old at a Young Age: By Raymond F. Gregory


Posting on Shell Blog by rockdude1950 on Dec 6th, 2009 at 2:51 pm

Shell encourages anyone with knowledge of activities that go against the company’s code of conduct to step forward and bring those activities to the attention of the Ethics and Compliance manager. The reorganization has provided many examples of actions that violate not just the code of conduct, but the laws of several countries in which Shell operates. I use this way to bring these actions to the attention of the Ethics and Compliance manager since I do fear retribution and a witch hunt, even with all the assurances to the contrary. The violations permeate throughout the process and come down from the high level in the EC.

Now that a new round of open resourcing has finished and that the annual ranking sessions are in full swing it is even more clear that one of the objectives of the reorganization is to weed out everyone over 54 years from the ranks of higher management, EC-1, -2, and -3. Since openly discussing age is not polite and it is in violation of the code of conduct, the HR organization and the hiring managers use code words. The marching orders are to take potential, meaning youth, and demographics, meaning youth, as criteria that can trump experience, performance, skills, expertise, and ability. I have witnessed the manipulation of information to move youth up the ranking scale and into coveted management positions. Some HR managers have been so dumb as to publicly acknowledge that rebalancing the demographics means moving younger staff to higher positions and trying to off-load the older generation.

Age is not the only blatant discrimination that I have witnessed. As someone has already pointed out, diversity of opinions was the first casualty in the early resourcing rounds. The new command and control structure needs people that will tag the line, and anyone that can challenge the EC has no room in this structure. But while seeking uniformity is bad business practice, age discrimination is also illegal. Many old timers decided not to fight it and take the packages. Bless their souls! Not all are happy to become redundant because of age. I expect many court challenges if this policy is not reversed.

If the Ethics and Compliance manager monitors this site, you are now aware of what is going on. If you look at your own HR statistics you will see a disproportionate number of people above the 54 year barrier that have been let go or have seen their ranking dropped. If you think I am wrong just publish the numbers and let an independent assessor look at the factors that determine chances of success in getting high performance ranking and higher grade jobs.

Posting on Shell Blog by fred on Dec 7th, 2009 at 8:36 pm

I fully agree with rockdude1950 since I have been observing all this from the sidelines and also find myself in that position. Having been with Shell for 31 years (and being 55) I find that my performance has for the first time in my career deteriorated from high to below average in the short space of 6 months. I have also been unsuccessful in obtaining a position at EC-1 to EC-3 level. I would also like to add ethnicity to the equation since it has also played an important part in the decision-making process regarding retention of staff. After all just look at the ranks of EC-1, EC-2 and EC-3. At least 95%+ are white. Just shows what an ethnic diverse Company Shell is and what decisions were made at EC level. The Swiss after all are not known for their racial equality.

At this late stage in my life it will be difficult to find another job. I have no choice but to take the package when it gets offered but I am contemplating legal action. Anyone know any good lawyers? There is a very good chance that they can make a bundle out of this. Maybe we should pool together and have a class action suit on the grounds of discrimination. Any takers?RELATED

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