Large Corporation to Pay $4M to Settle Race Discrimination Lawsuit

More than fifty-two years ago Martin Luther King Jr. made his famous “I have a dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963.  During the week of Dr. King’s birthday we are reminded that race discrimination in employment and society is extremely prevalent. Demonstrating the unfortunate perseverance of this practice is the fact that Hillshire Brands Company (formerly known as Sara Lee Corporation) has agreed to pay $4 million to settle a race discrimination lawsuit stemming from an incident involving 74 African-American employees at its Paris, Texas facility.

The lawsuit, which was prosecuted by the EEOC, alleged that African-American employees at Hillshire Brands were subjected to racist images and graffiti in the facility restrooms and locker room. Additionally, the lawsuit alleged that bakery employees were subjected to racial slurs by supervisors and other white employees over numerous complaints that were ignored by management. In addition to paying the $4 million sum, Hillshire Brands has been ordered to implement a variety of training courses and preventative actions to help ensure that race discrimination does not occur at the Paris facility again.

Conducting Race Discrimination Training
Helps Prevent Ugly Incidents

The EEOC and other fair employment practices agencies frequently order training and preventative measures punitively as part of settlement proceedings. While “better late than never” certainly helps address the issue and makes a statement, all too often the incidents that lead to high profile settlements could have been avoided by conducting training courses on employment discrimination in a proactive fashion.

In the Hillshire Brands case it was clear that the company did not have the proper procedures in place for training managers on identification of race discrimination nor did it have the proper measures in place to address complaints of racism and discrimination on its premises. In addition to being hit with a large settlement and the negative publicity that is associated with involvement in an ugly race discrimination lawsuit, many of the employees working at the facility surely were shocked to learn that they were employed at a place where racist graffiti would be allowed to remain without immediate remedy, which makes for an uncomfortable work environment.

Syntrio’s employment discrimination and harassment courses use real life scenarios and calculated hypotheticals to teach the dangers of allowing harassment and discrimination to persist at your company. By discussing real cases and developing vignettes based on reality your managers will not only learn the federal and state discrimination laws, they will see how they apply in the workplace. Indeed, our courses do not just teach the “black letter law,” they have true practical value for your managers and employees that many competing courses do not.

Syntrio is committed to helping businesses avoid the costly mistakes associated with race discrimination and harassment. We are also able to custom-tailor our courses to fit the needs of your business. Contact for more information about our employment discrimination courses for employees and management and remember to follow us on TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on compliance that impact your company!


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