FURNITURE MANUFACTURER TO PAY $465,000 FOR RACIAL HARASSMENT
by Patricia A. Schaeffer, Vice President-Regulatory Affairs
On January 24, 2008, the EEOC announced that Henredon Furniture Industries, Inc. would pay $465,000 to settle a racial harassment lawsuit filed against them by EEOC on behalf of African American employees who were subjected to a persistent racially hostile work environment at a furniture plant in High Point, North Carolina (EEOC v. Henredon Furniture Industries Inc., Case No. 1:06CV00744). Henredon Furniture is a subsidiary of Furniture Brands International, the largest home furnishings manufacturer in the U.S. The EEOC alleged that from approximately 1998 through January 2006, African American employees were subjected to racial slurs and name calling – including the “N-word” – as well as threats by hangman’s nooses that were displayed at the plant. The EEOC claimed the harassment occurred almost daily.