EEOC: Bread Manufacturer Allowed Harassment of Black Employee, Will Pay $30K to Settle Suit

It is costing a bread manufacturer $30,000 for allegedly failing to stop racial harassment against an African American employee. The employee was racially taunted by his co-workers, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleged.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Gonnella violated Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act by failing to respond adequately to a black employee’s complaints that he endured a pervasive pattern of disparaging racial comments made by his co-workers. Examples of the harassing conduct included persistent references to black employees as “you people,” as well as offensive statements such as, “Black people are lazy,” and “I better watch my wallet around you.”

“Employers are responsible for putting an end to co-worker harassment when they become aware of it,” explained Gregory Gochanour, EEOC’s regional attorney in Chicago. “That includes the responsibility to take seriously every allegation of race harassment, and then to investigate thoroughly and take appropriate actions to eliminate the misconduct.

The EEOC announced the settlement on Jan. 10.

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