Chevron Allows Supervisor to Harass Employee with ‘Stupid Jap’ Slur

17 thoughts on “Chevron Allows Supervisor to Harass Employee with ‘Stupid Jap’ Slur”

    1. Thanks so much David. Would love if you could spread the word on this so folks know how Chevron is (mis)handling this.


  1. I encourage you to write to the following individuals as well:

    1. Joe Laymon, Vice President, Human Resources — ask him about Chevron’s purported goal of “supporting diversity and fostering inclusion”

    2. Diversity/Careers in Engineering & Information Technology magazine —- In July 2008, named Chevron as Best Diversity Company

    3. —- put Chevron on its list of Top 50 Corporate Buyers of Diversity Products and Services in the United States

    Incidents such as these need to be publicized so that companies like Chevron learn that there is a difference b/t “looking” inclusive and “being” inclusive.


  2. Well, I definitely won’t be buying anything made by Chevron and I’ll tell everyone I know now to buy Chevron cars.


  3. I am a spokesperson for Chevron, and learned about this forum from one of our employees. While we will not comment on the specifics of this matter because Mr. Suzuki has not allowed us to discuss his personnel matter publicly, we share your concerns about equal employment opportunity and strongly believe that hateful and discriminatory conduct is intolerable.

    Because we take the concerns raised by Mr. Suzuki seriously, we engaged an independent, third-party attorney, Susan Kumagai, who specializes in employment law, to conduct an impartial and thorough investigation. That independent counsel interviewed 14 witnesses, including those identified by Mr. Suzuki. She was unable to substantiate Mr. Suzuki’s allegations.

    So while we disagree with Mr. Suzuki and his attorney’s version of the events, we want you to know that we remain steadfast in our commitment to equal employment opportunity.

    We appreciate the opportunity to address the concerns raised in this forum.



      I am Mr. Suzuki’s attorney and I am responding to Chevron spokesperson Sean Comey’s post, which shows that Chevron is saying nothing new, only repeating its same lame excuses. Comey claims that Chevron did “an impartial and thorough” investigation which was “unable to substantiate Mr. Suzuki’s allegations,” but these fact show that Chevron’s so-called investigation was not fair or thorough:

      1. If the investigation was “impartial and thorough” why is Chevron refusing to give Mr. Suzuki a copy of the report of investigation? What does it have to hide?

      2. Comey says that Chevron’s investigator interviewed 14 witnesses, but I know for a fact that the investigator failed to interview 2 of the 3 witnesses Mr. Suzuki said could confirm that he told them about the racial slur close to when it happened. Such corroborating witnesses are important evidence in harassment cases such as this where only the harasser and the employee were present when the harassment took place. I also have reasons to believe that Chevron did not talk to the third corroborating witness, either. Chevron’s failure to interview the corroborating witnesses show that its investigation was not thorough or fair.

      3. Chevron says the so-called investigation was done by “an independent, third-party attorney, Susan Kumagai, who specializes in employment law.” The fact is, Ms. Kumagai, on her firm’s website, describes herself as a “specialist in representing management” in employment discrimination cases. Not exactly who you’d hire if you wanted a truly independent investigation. Mr. Suzuki asked Ms. Kumagai and Chevron how many such investigations Ms. Kumagai had done in the past and in how many of those cases, if any, she found that harassment had in fact occurred. Ms. Kumagai and Chevron have steadfastly refused to respond. What is Chevron trying to hide here? Perhaps Mr. Comey will provide this information.

      4. Chevron ordered Mr. Suzuki back to work under his supervisor even before the investigation was complete, and threatened to terminate him unless he complied. This showed that Chevron was assuming that his allegations were false even before the investigation was done — otherwise it makes no sense to order him back to a supervisor who had harassed him to the point of causing him severe medical problems.

      Conclusion: Chevron has not conducted an ‘impartial and thorough investigation” of Mr. Suzuki’s allegations — it has merely gone through the motions. Chevron likes to talk about its “commitment to equal employment opportunity,” but more and more people are seeing through its hypocrisy.

      John Ota


    1. Absolutely need to support your father, Trish. What he’s going through is despicable. Re: APALA, your father’s attorney should be the one to get the organization involved.


  4. Trish and everyone — if you have a suggestion on an organization or person who might be willing to write a letter to Chevron, give me the information including hopefully a name and a way to contact that person, and I will follow up and request a support letter. You can send me the information at

    Also, I want to let everyone know that the Pacific Citizen ran a story on this case in its current issue (March 5-18). I have a pdf of the article, but I don’t know how to attach it. If I can figure it out, I’ll post it later.

    John Ota


  5. Keith I support your efforts in proving John Suzuki’s case against this discrimination case. Chevron had the audacity to hire an Japanese-American lawyer to disprove his case against the company. Shame on her for selling out to take the big money from Chevron and siding with them. I hope you prove her and Chevron wrong and win in the court system.


  6. I have known Alan Klaassen all my life and I don’t believe for one moment that he did what he has been accused of doing. He is not and has never been that kind of person—far from it.


  7. Keith,

    I support you. Chevron is wrong when they say “Chevron way”, but they do the different way in this case. Nobody can harass a person, especially a person from different race. That is absouluty discrimination. How could they ask Suzuki to go back to work under the same supervisor?! It is unbelivable.


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