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EEOC charges bread baking firm with ignoring race bias


An Illinois bread company has been charged by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with permitting a pattern of disparaging comments against black employees in its Aurora, Illinois, baking facility.

The agency said Wednesday that Schaumburg, Illinois-based Gonnella Baking Co., which is being charged with violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, did little or nothing to respond to repeated complaints about harassment directed at black employees.

The agency said the harassment included frequent and derogatory comments..

“Employers who know about discriminatory harassment of their employees are responsible for stopping it,” said John Hendrickson, the EEOC's regional attorney in Chicago, in a statement. “Racial comments and stereotypes have no place in a modern workplace, and the EEOC will hold employers accountable for that misconduct.”

A company spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

In November, a federal district judge entered a $735,000 consent decree resolving a race harassment lawsuit, in which the EEOC charged a Chicago grocery wholesaler with tolerating a racially hostile workplace.

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