Three Black former employees of a Kraft Heinz facility in Tulare, Calif., are suing the company, alleging that it did nothing to stop persistent racist harassment.
In a lawsuit filed Aug. 19, the employees claim that between 2012 and 2018, co-workers attached notes to their lockers with racial slurs and, in one instance, a swastika, and regularly called them the n-word. They say that when they were complained, they were told “to keep their heads down or else they could join the unemployment line,” according to the complaint.
They also allege that when they complained, they were subjected to retaliation on the job, including being assigned to less desirable shifts and outdated equipment. One plaintiff claimed to have been told by a manager that Kraft Heinz corporate told plant managers not to investigate racism at the plant.
Kraft Heinz told Business Insider that when the company learned about the allegations, it launched “an extensive investigation.” The results were not revealed, but the company says there have been no reports of racial harassment at the plant since 2018.
"Kraft Heinz prides itself on creating diverse and inclusive workplaces, and we have a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination or harassment of any kind," a Kraft Heinz spokesperson said.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are asking for $30 million plus the pay they could have earned if they had not been forced to quit.