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Brockton Bakery to Pay Restitution and Penalties and Revise Anti-Discrimination Policies in Settlement With AG’s Office 

PLYMOUTH A Brockton-based bakery will pay up to $95,000 in penalties and restitution, require anti-bias training for employees, and revise its anti-discrimination policies in a settlement reached with Attorney General Maura Healey’s Office over allegations that an employee was repeatedly exposed to racial slurs in the workplace.

The settlement, filed in Plymouth Superior Court, resolves a lawsuit brought by the AG’s Office alleging that White’s Bakery in Brockton violated the state’s anti-discrimination law by creating a racially hostile work environment in which one of its long-time supervisors repeatedly used racial epithets and slurs in front of subordinate employees, including the victim. According to the AG’s complaint, the victim’s repeated exposure to racially charged language in the workplace caused him to suffer severe emotional harm and eventually forced him to quit his job.

“Workers should be able to do their job in an environment safe and free from harassment,” AG Healey said. “Employers need to ensure that they have the right training, policies and accountability to make sure things like this don’t happen in their workplaces.”

“Discrimination anywhere should not be tolerated,” said Phyllis Ellis, President of the Brockton Area Branch NAACP. “White’s Bakery and its management have been held accountable for creating an unacceptable and racially hostile work environment. I was hopeful that this lawsuit would bring change in policy at White's Bakery, and I think it has.”

The AG’s complaint alleged that, in the four months the victim was employed at White’s Bakery in 2018, he was routinely subjected to hateful language by his supervisor, including the use of variations of the N-word. The victim is of mixed racial descent. The AG’s Office further alleged that the bakery management knew that this supervisor routinely used racial slurs in front of employees, but took no action to correct it.

The Massachusetts Anti-Discrimination Law, M.G.L. c. 151B, prohibits harassment, retaliation, and other forms of discrimination in the workplace based on race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, genetic information, or ancestry.

Under the terms of the settlement, White’s Bakery will pay $65,000 to the victim and up to $30,000 to the Commonwealth, $15,000 of which will be suspended pending compliance with the agreement. The bakery will also retain an external consultant to review its policies and procedures, training programs, and its culture and climate more broadly. Additionally, White’s Bakery will require all of its employees to complete anti-bias, anti-discrimination and anti-harassment training annually for three years, and its management will take an annual enhanced unconscious bias training for three years. It must also revise its anti-discrimination, anti-harassment and equal employment opportunity policies. The former supervisor, who is no longer employed at White’s Bakery, will also be required to take anti-bias training.

The case is part of an ongoing effort by the AG’s Office to combat hate, including in the workplace. The AG’s Civil Rights Division encourages Massachusetts residents and employees who have experienced instances of discrimination and hateful acts in the workplace to call (617) 963-2917 or to file a complaint online at www.mass.gov/ago/civilrightscomplaint.

This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Sara Colb, formerly of AG Healey’s Civil Rights Division and Managing Attorney Amanda Hainsworth, of AG Healey’s Civil Rights Division, with assistance from investigator Ciara Tran of AG Healey’s Civil Investigations Division.

 

 

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