Sanford Heisler Sharp Attorneys Prevail for Plaintiff in Texas Federal Court, Setting Up Trial Against Schlumberger Technology Corporation

After Failed Summary Judgment, Oil & Gas Giant Must Defend Itself In Gender Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Retaliation Lawsuit

HOUSTON, Feb. 03, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Lawyers at Sanford Heisler Sharp, one of the nation’s leading civil rights law firms, are ready to take on Schlumberger Technology Corporation in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas after beating back another attempt by the oil and gas company to obtain summary judgment in a case alleging it discriminated against, sexually harassed, and retaliated against a former female engineer who worked on oil rigs.

Sanford Heisler Sharp attorneys Michael Palmer, Carolin Guentert, and Nicole Wiitala are representing Jessica Cheatham in the lawsuit, along with co-counsel Todd Slobin from Shellist Lazarz Slobin LLP.

“We welcome the court’s action in squelching Schlumberger’s most recent attempt to avoid responsibility for the discrimination, harassment, and retaliation perpetrated by its employees, human resources, and managers against Jessica Cheatham,” said Palmer. “The serious allegations brought by Jessica definitely raise triable issues that deserve a fair hearing by a federal jury. And that’s what’s going to happen now that the judge has quashed Schlumberger’s most recent summary judgment."

The case, Jessica Cheatham v. Schlumberger Technology Corporation, No. 4:20-CV-02193, will be set for trial in Houston with Judge Kenneth Hoyt presiding.  Brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Cheatham seeks millions of dollars in damages, including back pay, front pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees and legal costs.

“Jessica endured appalling behavior and verbal harassment from many of her colleagues at Schlumberger,” said Guentert. “Although she promptly reported these experiences to the company’s Human Resources department, her concerns were minimized and ignored. She was told by an HR official to expect this kind of behavior because she was in a ‘male industry.’ Worse, after she reported the discrimination and harassment to HR, the discriminatory behavior and harassment continued and, in fact, escalated into other forms of retaliation.”

Cheatham alleges that after she told Human Resources about the discrimination and harassment to which she was repeatedly subjected, Schlumberger failed to staff her on any oil rig. She further asserts that one of her managers complained that she was “complicated to deal with” because “she uses the female card a lot,” and “everyone knows we are [i]n a male dominated environment.”

According to court records, not only did Schlumberger prevent Cheatham from obtaining a promotion, it pressured her to accept a demotion that would have required her to move to Alaska, after which she felt compelled to resign from the company.

“After Ms. Cheatham reported sexual harassment and gender discrimination, Schlumberger retaliated by attempting to demote her,” said Wiitala.  “She is looking forward to trial and hopeful that her case will help to improve the working conditions for all women in the male-dominated oil and gas industry.”

About Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP

Sanford Heisler Sharp is a national public interest class-action litigation law firm with offices in New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Palo Alto, San Diego, Nashville, Atlanta, and Baltimore.  Sanford Heisler Sharp focuses on employment discrimination, Title IX, wage and hour, whistleblower, criminal/sexual violence, and financial services matters.  The firm has recovered over $1 billion for its clients through many verdicts and settlements.  The National Law Journal recognized Sanford Heisler Sharp as 2022 Civil Rights Firm of the Year, 2021 Employment Rights Firm of the Year, and 2021 Human Rights Firm of the Year.  Benchmark Litigation recognized the Firm as 2021 and 2020 Labor & Employment Firm of the Year.  And Law 360 recognized the Firm as the 2021, 2019, 2018, and 2016 Employment Practice Group of the Year.

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