Tyson Foods to pay $1.6M to settle hiring discrimination charges

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The nation’s largest meat and poultry processor has agreed to pay $1.6 million in back wages and benefits to settle allegations of systemic hiring discrimination.

{mosads}The Labor Department claims Tyson Foods Inc. discriminated against 5,716 job applicants on the basis of sex, race and/or ethnicity at six of its locations in Texas, Arkansas and New Mexico from 2006 to 2012.

In addition to the fine, which the company agreed to pay without admitting guilt, Tyson Foods will extend job offers to 474 of the affected workers as positions become available and revise its hiring and training practices.

“Federal contractors are obligated to give every applicant a fair and equal shot at competing for good jobs,” said Patricia Shiu, director of the agency’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.

“Tyson has agreed to fully cooperate to remedy past violations and ensure its selection practices at these facilities are in full compliance with the law.”

In a statement Tuesday, Tyson Foods noted that the claims were based on a statistical review of job applications from six to nine years ago, not on any complaints from job applicants.

“We’re disappointed by the OFCCP’s claims, since we work hard to comply with all hiring laws and to treat all job applicants fairly,” said Lola Hithon, the company’s vice president of employment compliance.

The company noted that there were “legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons” for rejecting applicants who were not hired. Through it’s normal hiring practices, the company said it has already hired 60 percent of the people from the affected gender and ethnic groups that it’s required to employ as part of the settlement.

In August, the company was fined $236,000 for repeatedly violating workplace safety laws following an investigation the Occupation Safety and Health Administration launched after receiving a report that a worker at the company’s chicken-processing facility in Center, Texas, had lost a finger while on the job. 

Tags Discrimination Employment discrimination Tyson Foods
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