Seafood business faces discrimination claim; Mattress giants merge

Seafood business faces discrimination claim; Mattress giants merge
Seafood business faces discrimination claim; Mattress giants merge

An immigrant worker has filed a complaint with the state against a seafood business she says subjected her to years of sexual harassment and racial discrimination on the job.

The worker, Paula Fortes, is a Black woman who immigrated to the U.S. from Cape Verde, an island nation off the west coast of Africa. She filed an amended version of her complaint against Eastern Fisheries, a New Bedford seafood harvester and distributor, with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

Fortes said she endured repeated and persistent sexual and racial comments while working, including disparaging comments about her hair texture, such as another worker calling her “broom hair.” She said she was also subjected to unwanted touching while working. Fortes agreed through an attorney to be identified by name.

Representatives for Eastern Fisheries and BJ’s Service Co. did not respond to requests for comment about the complaint.

Mattress giants merge

Bedding provider Tempur Sealy has agreed to acquire Mattress Firm in a cash-and stock-transaction valued at about $4 billion, the companies said Tuesday.

Mattress Firm operates more than 2,300 brick-and-mortar retail locations and an e-commerce platfom. After the Tempur Sealy acquistion is complete, the two companies will have a total of some 3,000 retail stores, 30 e-commerce platforms, 71 manufacturing facilities and four research and development facilities worldwide.

“This combination will accelerate our growth trajectory and enhance operating cash flow,” Tempur Sealy Chairman and CEO Scott Thompson said in a statement.

Tempur Sealy received a request from the Federal Trade Commission for additional information and documents related to the transaction. The company plans to “work cooperatively” with the FTC to complete the acquisition.

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