Statoil lawsuit (re Human Rights Advisor)

Statoil petrol station by: Arild Vågen, Creative CommonsOn 17 August 2010, Statoil's Human Rights Advisor filed a lawsuit against the company alleging the company had made false promises and misrepresentations about the Human Rights Advisor position, which she had relied on in accepting the job and forgoing another opportunity.  Specifically, she alleges that: (1) she was assured the job would involve the chance to develop and implement human rights policies for the company’s overseas operations, including the implementation of human rights risk assessments (HRRAs); and (2) she was assured that the job was more than a “public relations” role.  After working at her job for a year, the plaintiff claims that the majority of her duties consisted of external public relations matters, and claims that her attempts to implement HRRAs and human rights training programmes for the company’s overseas business operations were thwarted by her superiors.  She alleges that the corporate structure of Statoil made it impossible for her to implement the human rights policies she thought she was hired to develop and institute.  The plaintiff also claimed that her working environment became extremely stressful and impacted her health; she has been on medical leave since April 2009.

The lawsuit was filed in US federal court in California.  The plaintiff claimed she was subject to fraud and deceit and that the company breached California labour law.  Statoil has responded to the allegations by rejecting them as “unfounded and incorrect”.  Statoil further stated that it takes its human rights responsibilities very seriously.  It is a founding member of the UN Global Compact.  In October 2012 the plaintiff and Statoil reached an out-of-court settlement.

- "Lov og rett i Statoil ASA" [“Law and Justice at Statoil”], Simen Sætre, Morgenbladet [Norway], 3 Sep 2010 [available in Norwegian only]

- “Til sak mot Statoil” [“An action against Statoil”], Kristin Jonassen Nordby, Aftenposten [Norway], 3 Sep 2010 [available in Norwegian only]

- “Jeg ble syk av å jobbe i Statoil” [“I got sick from working for Statoil”], Toril Risholm, Aftenbladet [Norway], 1 Sep 2010 [available in Norwegian only]

- “Statoil tilbakeviser alle påstander” [“Statoil refutes all allegations”], Aftenbladet [Norway], 1 Sep 2010 [available in Norwegian only] 
 

- Statoil: [DOC] “Statement by Statoil Re: Human rights advisor sues Norwegian oil company over false representations about its commitment to respecting human rights", 24 Aug 2010

- Paul Hoffman & Michael Seplow [counsel for plaintiff]: [PDF] “Human Rights Advisor Sues Norwegian Oil Company Over False Rrepresentations About its Commitment to Respecting Human Rights”, 17 Aug 2010 
 

- [PDF] Complaint for Damages, in US District Court, Northern District of California, 17 Aug 2010

 

 

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Company response
23 August 2010

Statement by Statoil Re: Human rights advisor sues Norwegian oil company over false representations about its commitment to respecting human rights

Author: Statoil

Statoil ASA has been made aware that an employee...has filed a lawsuit against Statoil ASA in California, U.S... Statoil ASA rejects...allegations [made in the lawsuit] as unfounded and incorrect. As this an ongoing lawsuit, Statoil will not provide further comments to the press release. As an international oil and gas company, Statoil takes its human rights responsibilities very seriously. Statoil ASA is a founding member of the UN Global Compact, an active supporter of international initiatives on business and human rights, and works systematically to ensure that its operations meet all applicable national and international laws and standards.

Download the full document here

Article
16 August 2010

[PDF] Complaint for Damages

Author: Paul Hoffman & Michael Seplow, counsel for the plaintiff

This action is about an international petroleum company which lured a California citizen to...relocate to Norway based on knowingly false promises and misrepresentations about the nature and character of her position as a human rights specialist for the company.... [The plaintiff] was promised that her job at Statoil would provide her with the opportunity and ability to ensure that the company respected international human rights norms in its operations and would also offer the potential for career advancement within the company. However, once she relocated to Norway,...[she] learned that...the company never intended to allow her to perform the essential tasks necessary to hold the company to the human rights promises it makes to the international community.

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Article
16 August 2010

[PDF] Human Rights Advisor Sues Norwegian Oil Company over False Representations about Its Commitment to Respecting Human Rights

Author: Paul Hoffman & Michael Seplow, counsel for the plaintiff

On August 17, 2010,...[Statoil's Human Rights Advisor] filed a lawsuit against Statoil... [She] alleges that the company misled her about the nature of her position as a Human Rights advisor... [She]...alleges that she was hired by Statoil mainly for “public relations” purposes, despite the company’s promises to the contrary. After working for the company for over a year, she realized that the company’s commitment to human rights was lacking. For example, despite the fact that she was supposed to be responsible for human rights policies in Statoil’s overseas operations, she was only allowed to make two trips to Statoil’s foreign facilities...[She] was told, and the company has publicly claimed, that Statoil was committed to implementing the Human Rights Risk Assessment (“HRRA”)... However,...[she] alleges that “despite having been promised that the company was committed to the HRRA, [she] encountered tremendous resistance to her efforts to implement the HRRA.”

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Lawsuit
23 September 2001

Statoil lawsuit (re Human Rights Advisor)

Author: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

On 17 August 2010, Statoil's Human Rights Advisor filed a lawsuit against the company alleging the company had made false promises and misrepresentations about the Human Rights Advisor position, which she had relied on in accepting the job and forgoing another opportunity.  Specifically, she alleged that: (1) she was assured the job would involve the chance to develop and implement human rights policies for the company’s overseas operations, including the implementation of human rights risk assessments (HRRAs); and (2) she was assured that the job was more than a “public relations” role.  After working at her job for a year, the plaintiff claimed that the majority of her duties consisted of external public relations matters, and claimed that her attempts to implement HRRAs and human rights training programmes for the company’s overseas business operations were thwarted by her superiors.  She alleged that the corporate structure of Statoil made it impossible for her to implement the human rights policies she thought she was hired to develop and institute.  The plaintiff also claimed that her working environment became extremely stressful and impacted her health.

The lawsuit was filed in US federal court in California.  The plaintiff claimed she was subject to fraud and deceit and that the company breached California labour law.  Statoil responded to the allegations by rejecting them as “unfounded and incorrect”.  Statoil further stated that it takes its human rights responsibilities very seriously.  In October 2012 the lawsuit was dismissed after the parties reached an out-of-court settlement.

 

- "Lov og rett i Statoil ASA" [“Law and Justice at Statoil”], Simen Sætre, Morgenbladet [Norway], 3 Sep 2010 [available in Norwegian only]

- “Til sak mot Statoil” [“An action against Statoil”], Kristin Jonassen Nordby, Aftenposten [Norway], 3 Sep 2010 [available in Norwegian only]

- “Jeg ble syk av å jobbe i Statoil” [“I got sick from working for Statoil”], Toril Risholm, Aftenbladet [Norway], 1 Sep 2010 [available in Norwegian only]

- “Statoil tilbakeviser alle påstander” [“Statoil refutes all allegations”], Aftenbladet [Norway], 1 Sep 2010 [available in Norwegian only] 
 

- Statoil: [DOC] “Statement by Statoil Re: Human rights advisor sues Norwegian oil company over false representations about its commitment to respecting human rights", 24 Aug 2010

- Paul Hoffman & Michael Seplow [counsel for plaintiff]: [PDF] “Human Rights Advisor Sues Norwegian Oil Company Over False Rrepresentations About its Commitment to Respecting Human Rights”, 17 Aug 2010 
 

- [PDF] Complaint for Damages, in US District Court, Northern District of California, 17 Aug 2010