Feds file suit for racial harassment at Sara Lee plant

DALLAS - Federal authorities are suing the company formerly known as Sara Lee after finding that its Paris, Texas, plant subjected some of its black employees to a racially hostile work environment.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced today it's filed suit against Hillshire Brands Company after finding that about 70 black workers were subjected to racially offensive graffiti and comments in the workplace, which is a violation of federal law.

EEOC alleges that some of the employees were also called racial slurs by a supervisor and other white co-workers. Their investigation found that Sara Lee officials ignored the complaints of the black employees about unfair treatment in the plant.

Sara Lee ended its Paris operations in 2011. The company was absorbed by Hillshire Brands, which in turn was bought last year by Tyson Foods.

Tyson spokesman Dan Fogleman said earlier this year the company thrives on diversity and doesn't tolerate the kind of discrimination found by the federal government.