The U.S. Department of Labor has filed suit against Tyson Fresh Meat, alleging that the company systematically rejected female job applicants at its plant in Joslin, Ill.
The administrative complaint seeks to recover back wages for more than 750 rejected applicants, and offer jobs to more than 100 affected women. It also requests that all of Tyson’s federal contracts be canceled and it be debarred from future government contracts until it has remedied the violations.
A subsidiary of Tyson Foods Inc., the meat company is the world’s largest supplier of premium beef and pork.
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, which is charged with monitoring contractors to make sure they don’t discriminate on the basis of gender when making their hiring decisions, conducted the investigation.
“The Labor Department is firmly committed to ensuring that federal contractors give all individuals a fair and equal chance at employment,” said Patricia Shiu, director of the office, in a statement. “Taxpayer dollars must never be used to discriminate.”
This filing follows recent litigation by the office involving another Tyson subsidiary, TNT Crust, located in Green Bay, Wis. A Department of Labor administrative law judge found that TNT Crust systematically discriminated against Latino applicants in its entry-level position hiring.
In that case, Tyson was represented by Jaime Ramon and Kirstin Dietel of K&L Gates, according to court papers.
The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour division also sued Tyson in 2002 for failing to pay workers at a poultry plant for the time it took to put on and take off protective and sanitary clothing. The case settled in June when Tyson agreed to pay almost 3,000 workers at its Blountsville, Ala., facility $500,000 in overtime back wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
A spokesman for Tyson could not be reached immediately for comment.