Jennie-O settles discrimination lawsuit

by Erica Shaffer
Share This:
Search for similar articles by keyword: [Hormel]

WILLMAR, Minn. – Jennie-O Turkey Store Inc., a unit of Austin, Minnesota-based Hormel Foods, agreed to pay nearly $500,000 in back pay and hire more than 50 women as part of a discrimination lawsuit settlement.

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) of the US Dept. of Labor accused the company of hiring discrimination. Jennie-O denied any wrongdoing.

“We reiterate our commitment to a discrimination-free workplace for our employees and disagree with the Department of Labor's claims,” the company said in a statement. “That being said, we believe a settlement at this time will avoid further litigation and allow us to move forward with our business.”

A review of hiring practices at the plant conducted by the OFCCP found Jennie-O discriminated against qualified female applicants for laborer positions from February 2009 to February 2010. The department sued the company and filed a consent decree simultaneously to resolve the issue. A judge in the Office of Administrative Law Judges entered an order adopting the consent decree.

Jennie-O agreed to pay back wages totaling $491,861 to female job applicants denied entry-level jobs at the company’s turkey processing plant in Willmar. The company also agreed to hire 53 women out of a pool of applicants who applied for one of the jobs during the period documented in the lawsuit.

“Discrimination can be prevented when employers have non-discriminatory selection procedures in place and make certain that they are followed,” OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu said in a statement. “Jennie-O has worked proactively with our agency to resolve the agency’s findings of discrimination and has agreed to train personnel involved in the selection process to ensure that non-discriminatory policies are carried out going forward.”

Jennie-O Turkey Store has received nearly $360 million in federal contracts as a supplier to the US Dept. of Agriculture’s schools and food bank programs.

Comment on this Article
We welcome your thoughtful comments. Please comply with our Community rules.

 

 


The views expressed in the comments section of Meat and Poultry News do not reflect those of Meat and Poultry News or its parent company, Sosland Publishing Co., Kansas City, Mo. Concern regarding a specific comment may be registered with the Editor by clicking the Report Abuse link.