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Case Style: United States Department of Labor v. Tyson Foods Inc.
Case Number: Unknown
Court: United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, Washington County
Plaintiff's Attorney: Unknown
Defendant's Attorney: Unknown
Description: United States Department of Labor Press Release:
The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced today that Tyson Foods Inc., headquartered in Springdale, Ark., has entered into six consent decrees to settle findings of hiring discrimination. More than 2500 women and minorities will receive a total of $1.5 million in back pay.
"This settlement of $1.5 million in back pay for 2500 minorities and women should be a wakeup call to all federal contractors," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "This administration is strongly committed to ensuring that all Americans are hired, promoted, and compensated fairly. Failure to comply with workplace discrimination laws could be a very expensive mistake."
The consent decrees, filed with the Labor Department's Office of Administrative Law Judges, were a result of separate compliance evaluations of six company facilities in Arkansas and Oklahoma. Periods under review ranged from 2002 through 2004, depending on the facility.
OFCCP issued findings that Tyson discriminated against 1354 rejected female applicants for entry-level laborer positions at three Tyson chicken processing plants in Van Buren, Clarksville and Berryville, Arkansas. The agency also found that Tyson discriminated against 998 rejected minority applicants for entry-level laborer positions at chicken processing plants in Grannis, Ark. and Broken Bow, Okla., and discriminated against 225 rejected minority applicants for long haul driver positions at Tyson's long haul terminal in Springdale, Ark.
"We strongly encourage other employers to take proactive steps to come into compliance with the law to prevent workplace discrimination," said OFCCP Deputy Assistant Secretary Charles E. James, Sr., who noted that Tyson was cooperative during the review and subsequent conciliation.
Under the terms of three consent decrees, Tyson will pay a total of $695,000 in back pay and interest to rejected female applicants for laborer jobs at the Van Buren, Clarksville and Berryville sites, and will provide employment for 267 laborer positions to those female class members.
Under two other consent decrees, Tyson will pay $340,000 in back pay and interest to rejected minority applicants for entry-level laborer jobs at the Grannis and Broken Bow sites, and will hire 105 of those minority class members into laborer positions.
Under the terms of the last consent decree, Tyson will pay $465,000 in back pay and interest to minority applicants for long haul driver positions at the Springdale long haul terminal and will hire 104 minority class members into long haul driver positions. As a part of the consent decree, Tyson will provide retroactive seniority to all the female and minority class members hired.
The company has also agreed to immediately correct all discriminatory practices and to undertake extensive self-monitoring measures for two years to ensure that all hiring practices fully comply with the law.
OFCCP, an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment Standards Administration, enforces Executive Order 11246 and other laws that prohibit employment discrimination by federal contractors. The agency monitors federal contractors to ensure that they provide equal employment opportunities without regard to race, gender, color, religion, national origin, disability or veterans' status.
Tyson Foods, Inc. Press Release:
Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN) has resolved a disagreement with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) over employment practices involving five locations in Arkansas and one in Oklahoma, the company reported today.
The OFCCP conducted compliance evaluations of Tyson hiring activity from 2002 to 2004 at poultry plants in Grannis, Clarksville, Berryville and Van Buren, Arkansas, and Broken Bow, Oklahoma, as well as a Springdale, Arkansas, trucking operation. Based on statistical analyses, the federal agency subsequently alleged the company discriminated against certain female and minority job applicants for entry level production jobs and some trucking positions. Tyson officials denied the claim, stating there were legitimate non-discriminatory reasons for not hiring the applicants. However, the company acknowledged that its defense of this position was hampered by the passage of time since the reviews began and incomplete documentation of its selection processes at these locations.
Tyson Foods has since implemented new procedures to ensure the company retains all relevant documentation of its selection processes and is also conducting more frequent audits of its employment practices. In addition, in an effort to avoid costly and protracted litigation, Tyson has agreed to pay $1.5 million to approximately 2,500 women and minorities who were not hired during the period involved and to make employment offers to some of those individuals who are still interested in working for the company.
"We have a history of working cooperatively with the OFCCP and remain committed to treating all job applicants fairly," said Ken Kimbro, senior vice president of Human Resources for Tyson Foods. "Tyson has a very diverse workforce and strict policies prohibiting discrimination in the workplace. We also communicate our position against discrimination through our Core Values and Team Member Bill of Rights."
During the time period covered by the OFCCP reviews, Tyson's representation of minorities at the named processing plants averaged 59% while the number of females was 49%.
It is Tyson Foods' policy to provide a work environment free of unlawful harassment and discrimination. This position is also reinforced by the company's Code of Conduct, which all Team Members are required to follow.
Tyson supports diversity and inclusion in the workplace, through the company's Office of Diversity Business Practices and its Executive Diversity Business Council, led by Chairman John Tyson. Last year the Council initiated the creation of a new program designed to identify and develop promising workers for upward movement within the company. This effort includes specific attention to the development and advancement of women and minorities.
The OFCCP is part of the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment Standards Administration. The agency is responsible for ensuring that employers doing business with the federal government comply with the laws and regulations requiring nondiscrimination and affirmative action.
Tyson Foods, Inc. [NYSE: TSN], founded in 1935 with headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas, is the world's largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork, the second-largest food company in the Fortune 500 and a member of the S&P 500. The company produces a wide variety of protein-based and prepared food products, which are marketed under the "Powered by Tyson™" strategy. Tyson is the recognized market leader in the retail and foodservice markets it serves, providing products and service to customers throughout the United States and more than 80 countries. The company has approximately 110,000 Team Members employed at more than 300 facilities and offices in the United States and around the world. Through its Core Values, Code of Conduct and Team Member Bill of Rights, Tyson strives to operate with integrity and trust and is committed to creating value for its shareholders, customers and Team Members. The company also strives to be faith-friendly, provide a safe work environment and serve as stewards of the animals, land and environment entrusted to it.
Contact: Gary Mickelson 479-290-6111
Outcome: Settled for $1.5 million.
Plaintiff's Experts: Unknown
Defendant's Experts: Unknown