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Sara Lee workers claim race discrimination due to work conditions

Every once in a while, great dessert hits the right spot. People in Texas and elsewhere can enjoy tasty treats from Sara Lee, but working for the company may not be as sweet. A group of workers are now complaining that they were subjected to race discrimination and say that it put their health in jeopardy.

The plaintiffs claim that they were subjected to a hostile workplace. The black workers were allegedly subjected to racial slurs and graffiti that was drawn in the bathrooms of the facility. Some of the drawings were allegedly done by some of the white supervisors.

According to the complaint, the black workers in the plant were required to tackle the more dangerous assignments. Some of the health risks in these jobs allegedly led to increased exposure to black mold and asbestos as well as other hazards. It was also claimed that promotions were not given based upon the best qualified worker. The plaintiffs assert that white employees who were less experienced were offered promotions more than their black coworkers.

The plaintiffs from the Texas facility approached management and noted the number of black workers who were being diagnosed with illness or were missing time due to being sick was steadily increasing. They were allegedly told that the environment was not hazardous or their inquiries were ignored all together. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a claim against the company on behalf of the employees -- which is now Hillshire Brands -- for the alleged race discrimination. If both sides do not come to a settlement that is agreeable, the matter may be proceed to trial.

Source: CBS Chicago, "Feds Side With Sara Lee Workers Subjected To Racist Taunts", Feb. 10, 2015

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