Black workers sue General Mills over alleged racial discrimination at Georgia plant

Boxes of General Mills cereals sit on the shelf at Santa Venetia Market on March 18, 2011 in San Rafael, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Cereal maker General Mills is facing a federal lawsuit from some of its employees claiming that the company's plant in Covington has "embraced a racially hostile work environment" controlled by "white supremacists."

The lawsuit, which was filed on Sunday by eight Black employees of the facility, accused the members of its management and human resources teams of forming a group called the "Good Ole Boys" who favored white employees for promotions.

The group claims factory managers issued more disciplinary actions against Black workers and used false performance reviews to justify the treatment. 

"The Good Ole Boys have used members and friends in HR positions – supported by the legal team of a multi-billion-dollar company – to adopt policies and take actions that allow the Good Ole Boys to treat white employees more favorably than Black employees in a way that reduces the risk of liability findings in discrimination cases and reduces the risk of paying unemployment benefits," the lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit also mentions an alleged incident in 1993 where a noose was left on a plaintiff's desk. Another employee reported seeing racial epithets written on restroom walls and one of his work forms.

"In the 1990s, White employees, without fear of repercussions from management or HR, openly used the N-word and other racial slurs and attempted to intimidate Black employees with racial hostility," the lawsuit alleged.

The plaintiffs are asking the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia for a trial by jury and damages.

General Mills would not comment on the pending litigation but said it does not tolerate discrimination of any kind.