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Sealy Agrees to Pay $175K to Resolve Harassment Claims

Sealy Agrees to Pay $175K to Resolve Harassment Claims Photo: KSTP/File

April 20, 2017 07:46 PM

A Minnesota mattress manufacturer has agreed to pay $175,000 and recalibrate its anti-discrimination policies after an investigation found the company failed to respond properly to accusations of racial harassment.

An investigation by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found St. Paul-based Sealy of Minnesota subjected its black and Hispanic employees to severe racial harassment, the EEOC said in a release.

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The EEOC said the claims were spurred by an employee who made racist jokes, used racial epithets and invoked symbols like a noose and a Ku Klux Klan hood. Julie Schmid, the acting area director for the Minneapolis EEOC, said the harassment was directed at 27 employees.

Sealy also discriminated against black and Hispanic employees in hiring lead positions at its St. Paul plant, according to the release. 

The EEOC investigation found reasonable cause the company violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

Sealy had not responded to a request for comment Thursday afternoon.

Under the terms of the settlement, Sealy has also agreed to provide anti-discrimination training to all employees and further training on harassment and retaliation to supervisors, managers and owners. The company will also revise its anti-harassment policies and establish an anonymous hotline for employees to report discrimination. 

"The reason we make this public is because we want other employers to look at their own policies to ensure that it doesn't happen at their companies," Schmid said. 

Credits

Michael Oakes

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