BROCKTON, MASS. (WHDH) - A Massachusetts 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 the state over allegations that an employee was repeatedly exposed to racial slurs in the workplace, Attorney General Maura Healey announced Thursday.
The settlement, filed in Plymouth Superior Court, resolves a lawsuit brought by Healey’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 employees, including the victim, who is of mixed racial decent.
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, according to Healey’s complaint.
In the four months the victim was employed at the bakery in 2018, he was routinely subjected to hateful language by his supervisor, including the use of variations of the N-word, Healey’s office said.
It’s further alleged that the bakery management knew that the supervisor routinely used racial slurs in front of employees, but took no action to correct it.
In a statement shared with 7NEWS, the bakery denied allegations that management tolerated workplace discrimination.
“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 said. “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.”
In addition to paying the fines and requiring workers to complete extensive training, the bakery will also retain an external consultant to review its policies and procedures, culture, and climate more broadly.
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