3 former Kraft Heinz employees in Tulare allege ‘racially hostile and discriminatory environment’

CBS47 News

FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – Three former employees at the Kraft Heinz plant in Tulare are suing the food giant alleging a “racially hostile and discriminatory environment.”

“Just to imagine having to go to work and on top of all the stress that you are trying to do a good job and making sure you doing a good job, worrying about are you going receive a death threat in your locker saying ‘all n-words must die.”

Kraft Heinz Company is one of the largest food and beverage companies in the United States, with nearly 40,000 workers and annual revenue of $26 billion.

Three of those former employees out of Tulare now suing for $30 million, claiming from 2012-2018. The suit alleges someone inscribed racist and offensive emblems on their plaintiff’s lockers.

“Whether it be the swastikas on the lockers the multiple racialized death threats that they received, having the n-word inscribed on different bathroom walls,” said Gilbert. “When these things were reported they were told to be patient, sorry there is nothing we can do about it, if we do anything about it we are going to disgruntle the other employees or if you keep complaining about this you are not going to have your job and you can join the unemployment line.”

Gilbert represents the three African-American men, including Alex Horn of Fresno, Lance Aytman of Tulare, and Keith Hooker of Fresno. In total, 23 claims were filed against the plant under Title IV.

A spokesperson for Kraft Heinz Company would not go on-camera but sent a statement.

Kraft Heinz prides itself on creating diverse and inclusive workplaces, and we have a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination or harassment of any kind…. The allegations at the Tulare plant are several years old and as soon as we were made aware, we undertook an extensive investigation, including cooperating with law enforcement, to ensure that any behavior that violated our policies, if uncovered, was put to an end.

Kraft Heinz Company

Gilbert said Kraft Heinz could file a motion to dismiss the claims in the next couple of weeks when it goes before the judge. If the company does not then the case would move forward.

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