Black Workers Sue General Mills Plant Over 'Good Ole Boys'

8 plaintiffs say Georgia facility perpetuated decades of racism
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2024 2:19 PM CDT
Black Workers Sue General Mills Plant
A display of General Mills Cheerios cereal.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

Eight Black employees at a General Mills plant in Georgia are suing over what they say is years of racial discrimination at the hands of the "Good Ole Boys." Those suing claim the racist managers held them to higher standards than white co-workers, subjected them to racist imagery, and perpetuated a hostile work environment based on the color of their skin. The lawsuit goes thusly, per Quartz:

  • Decades of racism: CNN cites the suit in reporting that two white managers at the Covington plant, which manufactures cereal and trail mix, "formed an organization of white employees in management and human resources called the 'Good Ole Boys'" who slighted Black workers dating to the 1980s.

  • What that looked like: Per the suit, Black workers were passed over for promotions, put in situations that set them up for discipline, and were disciplined at higher rates than white co-workers. They say they were also exposed to images associated with the Ku Klux Klan and the Confederacy, including Stone Mountain.
  • More on that Confederate imagery: The lawsuit says that a mural stood in the factory for 16 years displaying the Cocoa Puffs bird as Confederate President Jefferson Davis and the Honey Nut Cheerios bee as Gen. Stonewall Jackson. That mural was apparently taken down in 2021.
  • One worker's claim: Keith McClinton says that he complained about racist practices in writing for nearly 20 years until HR told him to knock it off. McClinton specified one instance in which "KKK" was scrawled on his lunchbox. CNN notes that managers had him provide a handwriting sample to prove he hadn't done it himself.
  • What the suit seeks: A trial by jury and compensatory and punitive damages.
(More General Mills stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.