BROCKTON (CBS) – Brockton-based White’s Bakery will pay up to $95,000 in fines and restitution after allegations that a mixed-race employee was “repeatedly exposed” to racial slurs on the job, forcing him to eventually quit.
Attorney General Maura Healey’s office announced the settlement on Thursday. The bakery will review its anti-discrimination policies and require anti-bias training for employees.
Healey’s office had brought a lawsuit alleging White’s Bakery created a “racially hostile work environment.” A long-time supervisor was accused of using slurs in front of subordinate employees.
According to the complaint, one of the victims worked at White’s Bakery for four months in 2018. Management allegedly knew that the supervisor used the racial slurs, but took no action.
“Workers should be able to do their job in an environment safe and free from harassment,” Healey said in a statement. “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.”
Following the settlement, White’s Bakery will pay the victim $65,000 and $30,000 to the state. Of that, $15,000 will be suspended pending compliance with the agreement.
“Discrimination anywhere should not be tolerated,” Phyllis Ellis, President of the Brockton Area Branch of the NAACP, said. “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.”
In a statement, White’s Bakery denied any wrongdoing:
“For the past two years, White’s Bakery has vehemently fought false allegations that the bakery’s owners in any way tolerated workplace discrimination against a former employee. White’s Bakery is a responsible, progressive employer that has always opposed discrimination of any kind. We always embrace people for who they are. We do everything possible to operate on the basis of respect, understanding, and dignity.”
“White’s Bakery denies any wrongdoing or liability in connection with claims brought by the AG’s office. In an effort to move forward without the continued burden, stress, distraction and substantial financial obligations that accompany litigation, White’s Bakery reached a settlement with the AG’s office.”