Hillshire Brands Company (formerly known as the Sara Lee Corp.) will pay $4 million to a group of 74 African-American former employees who had worked at a former Sara Lee facility in Paris, Texas, to settle a race discrimination lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced.
EEOC claimed African-American employees were subjected to racist graffiti on the walls of the bathrooms and locker room. The former bakery employees also alleged that during work hours, they were berated with racial slurs by supervisors and other white co-workers, and complaints by the plant workers went unaddressed by management. The EEOC filed suit (Case No. 2:15-cv-1347) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The two-year consent decree settling the case provides for an injunction where Hillshire Brands will implement various preventative approaches regarding discrimination or harassment against any employee on the basis of race and will periodically report incidents or investigations to EEOC.
The company also agreed to engage in remedial measures such as anti-discrimination training and implementation of procedures to prevent and promptly address graffiti issues.