Colorado Federal Judge Considers $12.2 Million Proposed Settlement

In a case filed in Colorado federal District Court, Patterson-UTI Drilling Company LLC (Patterson) has agreed to pay $12.2 million to settle an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit brought for discrimination against minority workers. EEOC v. Patterson-UTI Drilling Co. LLC (D. Colo. 2015).

According to the proposed consent decree, the matter arose from charges of discrimination filed against the Texas-based company alleging “three nationwide pattern-or-practice claims affecting a large class of minority employees: (a) hostile work environment based on race, color, and/or national origin; (b) disparate treatment discrimination, including discharge or constructive discharge and other adverse conditions; and (c) retaliation.”

If the court accepts the parties’ proposal, Patterson will create a fund to compensate all minority workers it employed from Jan. 1, 2006, to the date the agreement becomes final. Non-monetary relief includes barring Patterson from further discriminatory practices, creating a new vice president to focus on Equal Employment Opportunity policies and implementing the consent decree, and extensive annual training.

Patterson denies the EEOC’s allegations.

“The settlement almost equals the approximately $13 million the EEOC received in litigation settlements for the entirety of its Fiscal Year 2014, and represents more than half of the $22.5 million it recovered, in total litigation settlements and verdicts, during the same period,” according to a press release by national law firm, Seyfarth-Shaw.