Throughout her life, Bari-Ellen Roberts has broken racial and gender barriers at school and in the workplace. She quickly learned in school that racism meant she had to work harder than her white peers to succeed.
About a decade into her career, she was hired at Texaco as a senior financial analyst. First she dealt with harassment during the hiring process, then the occasional racist comments from co-workers, and later, she was denied promotions despite outstanding work and saw the positions go to less qualified white men. She found out that the few other African American employees at Texaco similarly were being discriminated against. In 1994, she became the lead plaintiff of a class action lawsuit against Texaco and the largest discrimination lawsuit in history. In November of 1996, Texaco agreed to pay $176 million to approximately 1,400 African American employees nationwide.
Roberts is president of Bari-Ellen Roberts, Inc., a management training firm that focuses on diversity, sexual harassment and violence in the workplace. In addition, she serves on the faculty of Fairfield University of Connecticut as an instructor in the Business School, teaching a course on Corporate Social Responsibility.
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