Doyle Dennis LLP: Canada's Largest Drilling Rig Contractor Hit with More Racism Allegations

Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 2:39 PM CDT

Arbitration filing: Precision Drilling, LP knew high-profile senior vice president disparaged blacks, blocked black executive's promotion

HOUSTON, June 21, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Canadian oilfield services giant Precision Drilling, LP is accused of failing to curb the racist and harassing behavior of a longtime senior vice president who was featured in the company's 2021 corporate responsibility report, the law firm Doyle Dennis LLP and co-counsel said today in a new legal action.

In a filing before the American Arbitration Association, Deric Simmons, the company's former Global Director of Field Training and Development, alleges Senior Vice President of North American Drilling Operations Grant Hunter blocked Simmons's promotions and compensation for Simmons – even after the company assigned him high-level responsibilities – because he is black.

Hunter is accused in the complaint of disparaging Simmons and other blacks within the company and elsewhere. The complaint cites graphic examples of Hunter's workplace comments about black children, black culture, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., murder victim George Floyd, the National Football League (NFL), and the activist organization Black Lives Matter.

Last year, the company featured Hunter in its corporate responsibility report: "Our Core Values and our Key Believes represent the very core of who we are as a company," the report quotes Hunter. "The Core Values are our guidelines and our conscience, both individually and collectively. They help guide and influence our actions while simultaneously giving us clear standards of accountability."

According to the complaint, "The glaring gap between what Precision Drilling, Senior VP Hunter, and its highest corporate managers proclaim, and what they actually do, is what makes this lawsuit necessary."

After leaving a career in law enforcement to work his way up from the drill floor to oil-field executive levels, the Houston-based Simmons was forced to leave the company in January 2022 after eight years of employment. The complaint asserts that company executives acknowledged the legitimacy of Simmons's concerns but were unwilling to take meaningful action to address Hunter's known hostility to Simmons and other minority employees.

Simmons – who was consistently acknowledged as a leader in the community, the drilling industry and within the company – was deployed in Precision Drilling's pro-diversity messaging to shareholders. In fact, as recently as Monday, Simmons was still pictured on the company's website homepage.

Simmons is represented by Katrina Patrick, of the Law Offices of Katrina Patrick, of Bellaire, Texas; and Jeffrey Avery, Michael Doyle, Patrick Dennis of Doyle Dennis LLP, of Houston.

Attorney Katrina Patrick said, "Our investigation shows that management at the highest level of Precision Drilling repeatedly failed to address the shocking behavior of Mr. Hunter who blocked the exemplary career path of Mr. Simmons simply because he is black."

Attorney Jeffrey Avery said, "Precision Drilling has repeatedly boasted of its diversity and inclusion programs, but the evidence shows a troubling history of systemic racism and harassment within the company. We allege violations of federal and state laws."

After investigating Simmons's claims, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Texas Workforce Commission-Civil Rights Division issued right-to-sue letters to him. Precision Drilling was sued in 2016 in a separate legal action after company employees testified that another black employee, a safety advisor, was disparaged with racial epithets by company employees.

The new case is Deric Simmons v. Precision Drilling Company, LP and Grant Hunter, Case No. 012200026267 before the American Arbitration Association.

Contact: Erin Powers, Powers MediaWorks LLC for Doyle Dennis LLP, 281.703.6000,

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