The U.S. Department of Labor has filed an administrative complaint against Tyson Fresh Meats, the world's largest supplier of premium beef and pork and a wholly owned subsidiary of Tyson Foods Inc. The complaint alleges that Tyson systematically rejected female job applicants at its plant in Joslin, Ill.
"The Labor Department is firmly committed to ensuring that federal contractors give all individuals a fair and equal chance at employment," said Patricia A. Shiu, director of the department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. "Taxpayer dollars must never be used to discriminate. In our efforts to uncover workplace discrimination, OFCCP will utilize a host of remedies, including debarment, to protect workers, promote diversity and enforce the law."
OFCCP's investigation revealed that Tyson utilized a hiring process and selection procedures that discriminated against women seeking entry-level positions. Executive Order 11246, under which this lawsuit was brought, prohibits federal contractors such as Tyson from discriminating on the basis of gender when making their hiring decisions and empowers OFCCP to monitor their compliance with the law.
The complaint requests that all of Tyson's federal contracts be canceled; it be debarred from future government contracts until it has remedied the violations; and it provide complete relief, including lost wages, interest and other benefits of employment, to affected individuals. OFCCP believes that more than 750 women are owed back wages and more than 100 women should be given the option of working for the company.
This filing follows recent litigation by OFCCP involving another Tyson Foods Inc. 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 addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP's legal authority exists under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. As amended, these three laws hold those who do business with the federal government, both contractors and subcontractors, to the very reasonable standard that they not discriminate in their employment practices on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. For more information, call OFCCP's toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251. Additional information is available at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.