Clougherty Packing, EEOC settle sexual harassment suit

by MEAT+POULTRY Staff
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LOS ANGELES – Clougherty Packing LLC, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods Inc., doing business as Farmer John, agreed to pay $100,000 and provide other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit launched by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

As part of the two-year consent decree that settled the case, the company will pay $100,000 in monetary relief; review and revise company policies to comport with Title VII; implement effective training for both supervisors and staff on Title VII; develop a centralized tracking system for employees’ discrimination complaints; and submit reports to EEOC verifying compliance with the decree.

EEOC filed the case because the company’s supervisors and employees reportedly sexually harassed female employees through unwanted touching and comments. The alleged conduct is in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC sued the company in the US District Court for the Central District of California after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“We commend the efforts by Clougherty Packing/Farmer John in reaching a resolution with EEOC that provides both meaningful monetary relief and important equitable relief for the affected female employees,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office.

In January, Smithfield Foods acquired Clougherty Packing from Austin, Minnesota-based Hormel Foods Corp. for $145 million cash. The deal included Clougherty’s Farmer John and Saag’s pork-processing operations.

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