Hillshire faces racial harassment lawsuit

by Erica Shaffer
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DALLAS – The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a lawsuit against The Hillshire Brands Company on charges that some African-American workers were subjected to racial harassment at a former Sara Lee Corp. facility in Paris, Texas. Tyson Foods Inc. acquired Chicago-based Hillshire in September 2014.

The lawsuit states that racist graffiti, drawings and other racist symbols were scrawled on the bathroom walls at the plant. The EEOC also alleges that some black workers were called racial slurs by a supervisor and other white co-workers. The agency investigated the matter and found that Sara Lee officials ignored complaints about unfair treatment at the plant. Sara Lee sold the Paris plant in 2011 before the company separated its North American retail unit from its international coffee and tea business.

EEOC filed the lawsuit [Civil Action No. 2:15-cv-01347] in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division. Pending in the same court is a private lawsuit filed on behalf of many of the former Sara Lee workers. That lawsuit alleges race discrimination, discrimination in job assignments and hostile work environment.
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