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Gonnella Baking of Chicago settles EEOC charges of racial harassment, pays $30,000 penalty

By Mark Iandolo | Jan 19, 2017

CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced Jan. 10 that Gonnella Baking Co. of Chicago will pay $30,000 to resolve allegations of racial harassment at the company’s Aurora, Illinois. facility.


"Employers are responsible for putting an end to co-worker harassment when they become aware of it," said Gregory Gochanour, EEOC's regional attorney in Chicago. "That includes the responsibility to take seriously every allegation of race harassment, and then to investigate thoroughly and take appropriate actions to eliminate the misconduct."


According to EEOC, the company did not take action when a black employee complained of racial harassment. The black employee allegedly told management that he had been subjected to disparaging racial comments by coworkers. The company’s alleged failure to properly respond to the complaint is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


"Racial harassment is not limited to explicit racial slurs, and can include any offensive conduct directed toward an employee because of his race,” said EEOC's Chicago District director, Julianne Bowman. “Requiring an employee to endure persistent references to offensive racial stereotypes or jokes in the workplace is a violation of the law."

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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission