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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission


Black Production Manager Subjected to Racial Epithets, EEOC Charges

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Harrisburg-based Stroehmann Bakeries LLC, a subsidiary of Bimbo Bakeries USA, violated federal law when it subjected a production operator to a racially hostile work environment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit announced today.

The EEOC says that Henry Hairston, an African American production operator, was subjected to a hostile work environment based on his race when a white co-worker made derogatory comments about blacks on several occasions beginning in October of 2006. The racial harassment included the use of the N-word on four occasions, the EEOC charges in its lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Civil Action No. 09-1872. Hairston complained to three management officials, but the bakery failed to take action to address his complaints and the offensive racial comments continued, the EEOC said. Hairston was forced to quit due to the racially hostile work environment.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The EEOC attempted to reach a voluntary settlement before filing suit. The EEOC is seeking injunctive relief to prevent future discrimination, as well as back pay, and compensatory and punitive damages.

“The use of the N-word in the workplace is vile and abhorrent,” said Acting Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence of the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office, which oversees Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, Maryland, and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. “No employer should tolerate racial slurs and epithets. The company had the opportunity to take action to stop the racial harassment. Since they failed to do so, the EEOC is filing this suit to show all employers that such misconduct cannot be tolerated in the workplace.”

Stroehmann Bakeries is a subsidiary of Bimbo Bakeries. Further information about the company is available at its web site

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at

This page was last modified on September 30, 2009.