Ex-employees of a shuttered Sara Lee (now Hillshire Brands) facility will be allowed to enter into settlement discussion with Hillshire Brands after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found that the ex-employees’ managers subjected them to racist taunts and assigned them to the facility’s most dangerous jobs.
Dozens of African-American employees filed complaints to the EEOC against the Texas factory, citing racist graffiti in the bathrooms, including slurs and crude drawings of apes and men hanging from nooses. The managers themselves made some of the slurs and drawings.
Additionally, African-American employees complained about the nature of the work they were forced to do. An increasing number of them fell ill and were diagnosed with cancer after being disproportionately assigned to jobs exposing them to asbestos, black mold and other toxic materials. Moreover, inexperienced white employees were favored for promotion over long-term black workers.
Texas Labor Code Chapter 21 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protect individuals against employment discrimination based on race. Ethnic slurs, racial jokes, offensive or derogatory comments or other verbal or physical conduct based on a person’s race constitute unlawful harassment. Employers are also not legally allowed to segregate minority employees or exclude them from certain positions.
If you have faced discrimination in the workplace like these employees did, you should speak to a qualified employment lawyer. A lawyer can help you construct and file complaints against your employer. No matter their racial background, employees should not have to suffer from harassment.
Atkerson Law – Dallas Employment Attorney