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September 2011 Events and News

OFCCP Settles Discrimination Case with Repeat Offender Tyson Foods, Inc.

Tyson Fresh Meats Inc., a subsidiary of Tyson Foods Inc., has entered into two consent decrees to settle allegations of sex discrimination. As result, 1,650 qualified female job applicants who were rejected for employment at facilities in Joslin, Ill., West Point, Neb., and Waterloo and Denison, Iowa, will share $2.25 million in back wages, interest and benefits. Tyson, one of the world’s largest processors of beef and pork, also has agreed to offer jobs to at least 220 of the affected women as positions become available.

“Companies that profit from federal contracts must not discriminate in employment decisions,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “Today’s settlement, one of the largest in OFCCP’s history, means that women who were unfairly denied job opportunities will be compensated.”

“A year after filing suit, the Labor Department has made good on a promise to those job seekers who were denied the opportunity to work simply because they are women,” said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. “We will remain vigilant, particularly with a serial offender like Tyson, to protect the rights of workers who can and should expect basic fairness from a company that profits mightily from doing business with the federal government.”

Tyson Foods Inc. is a major supplier for the U.S. Departments of Defense and Agriculture, and is one of the largest employers in Joslin, Waterloo and Denison. These consent decrees resolve the latest lawsuits in a string of cases brought by OFCCP against subsidiaries of Tyson Foods Inc., for violation of the fair and reasonable standard that they not discriminate in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran.

Read the Labor Department’s Tyson Foods, Inc., news release about this case.

DOL Files Complaint Against Cheese Producer for Hiring Discrimination

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is seeking back wages and interest for at least 270 job applicants for on–call laborer positions with Leprino Foods Co. An investigation found that the federal contractor discriminated against qualified African–American, Asian and Hispanic applicants at its Lemoore West facility in California by using a job skills assessment exam that adversely impacted minorities. OFCCP is also seeking job offers for at least 17 applicants, and is requesting that Leprino Foods’ existing federal contracts be canceled and the company be debarred from future contracts until violations are resolved and corrected. Leprino Foods, a Denver, Colorado–based company, is the nation’s largest producer of mozzarella cheese.

“Leprino Foods’ hiring process simply doesn’t pass the sniff test,” said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. “When workers are denied employment because of factors that have nothing to do with their ability to perform the job, something is not right. Our message to the company is clear: Correct your discriminatory practices and make restitution to the victims or lose your lucrative federal contracts.”

Read the Labor Department’s Leprino Foods Co. news release about this case.