The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has recently announced that Tyson Fresh Meats has agreed to settle sex discrimination allegations that left more than 1,650 qualified female applicants without jobs last year. For wrongfully denying the women the right to work, Tyson will pay out $2.25 million in back wages, interest and benefits to females who applied for jobs at four facilities located in Joslin, Illinois – West Point, Nebraska – Waterloo, Iowa – and Denison, Iowa.
“Companies that profit from federal contracts must not discriminate in employment decisions,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis in a recent press release. “Today’s settlement, one of the largest in OFCCP’s history, means that women who were unfairly denied job opportunities will be compensated.”
Tyson Foods Inc., parent company of Tyson Fresh Meats, has been under frequent fire by the Department of Labor over the past few years due to numerous allegations that claimed Tyson owned subsidiaries were acting discriminatory. In 2008, a judge found Tyson owned TNT Crust in Green Bay, Wisconsin, guilty of systematic discrimination against Latino entry-level applicants. Tyson Refrigerated Processed Meats also settled a case last year after it became apparent that the organization had discriminated against 157 African-American and 375 Caucasian job applicants at one of the company’s plants in Vernon, Texas.
“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.”
In addition to the recent payouts, Tyson has agreed to offer at least 220 jobs back to the women who were originally denied over sex discrimination. Tyson also plans to take better preventative and corrective actions moving forward.