- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for AG’s Office Sues Brockton Bakery for Discrimination
PLYMOUTH — A Brockton bakery and two of its managers have been sued for subjecting an employee to discriminatory treatment based on his race and disability, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
The complaint, filed Monday in Plymouth Superior Court, alleges that White’s Bakery in Brockton, along with the head pastry chef and supervisor of the employee, and the manager and son of the bakery’s owner, violated the state’s antidiscrimination law by creating a hostile work environment, and by allowing the employee to be harassed and mocked because of his race and his disability. The AG’s Office alleges that the harassment caused the employee severe emotional harm and forced him to quit his job.
“No employee should feel unsafe at work or be subjected to offensive and hateful language by an employer,” AG Healey said. “We have sued this company and its managers to put an end to this type of discriminatory treatment and will hold accountable those who create hostile work environments.”
“Workers should be able to go to work, do their job and go home without being harassed, mocked and called racial slurs,” said Phyllis Ellis, President of the Brockton Area Branch NAACP. “People discriminate against people who do not look like them because they think they can. I hope this lawsuit will help bring real change at White’s Bakery.”
“We applaud the Attorney General’s leadership in combating discriminatory employment practices,” said Oren Sellstrom, Litigation Director of Lawyers for Civil Rights. “Particularly in the current climate, it is critical for employees to know that their civil rights can be vindicated in the courts.”
The AG’s Office alleges that, in the four months the victim was employed at White’s Bakery last year, he was subjected to harassment and hateful language, including the use of variations of the N-word by his supervisor. In addition to the racist language and harassment, the victim was also mocked for his speech impediment. The AG’s Office further alleges that the manager knew about the harassing conduct and excused it instead of taking action to correct it.
Through its lawsuit, the AG’s Office is seeking an injunction preventing the defendants from engaging in discriminatory conduct. The AG’s Office is also requesting the court to award compensatory and punitive damages for the harm caused to this employee and any other victims.
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.
The case is part of an ongoing effort by the AG’s Office to address the problem of workplace discrimination and to combat hate, wherever it manifests. The Civil Rights Division encourages Massachusetts residents to report instances of discrimination and hateful acts by calling (617) 963-2917 or filing a Civil Rights E-Complaint at www.mass.gov/ago/civilrightscomplaint.
This case is being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Sara Colb and Amanda Hainsworth, both of AG Healey’s Civil Rights Division, with assistance from investigator Ciara Tran of AG Healey’s Civil Investigations Division.