In June, four employees at the Quaker Oats plant in Danville, Illinois, filed a racial harassment and hostile work environment lawsuit against the company.
Glenda Brooks, William Musson, Cliff Redmon and Edward Smith allege that coworker Mario Garza racially berated Brooks, who is black, to other employees and called Brooks “a ‘stinking nigger bitch,’ over and over.”
Musson, Redmon, and Smith, who are Caucasian, witnessed “and were hurt and offended by the incident.” They reported the incident to HR manager Theo Hunt.
While Garza was allegedly given a short suspension for the hostile outburst, the complaint states that “the Pepsico/Quaker Oats response to this incident fell well short of its ‘nontolerance’ policy regarding discrimination.”
Brooks, Musson, Redmon, and Smith claim that they were all retaliated against by the Quaker Oats management, who allegedly “tolerated its employees’ making offensive drawings and writing racist and denigrating messages about plaintiffs Musson, Redmon and Smith in the dust on the walls and glass throughout the plant.”
The “errant Quaker Oats response” to the plaintiffs complaints of continued harassment and retaliation was allegedly “orchestrated by Shift Manager Randy Smith and executed by Supervisors Betty Flowers and Greg Sacotnik, all of whom knew or should have known the errors of their actions.”
According to the complaint, “Hunt ‘brushed off’ and ignored the many complaints of harassment made by the plaintiffs herein after reporting the incident.”
The complaint also names plant manager Pat Burke as a defendant.
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