FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A federal jury found in favor of Tyson Foods Inc. in a wage, age and sex discrimination lawsuit filed by a former employee. The company declined to comment.
Tammy Hesterberg, a former director of customer development– international for Tyson, claimed in a lawsuit filed in 2014 that her salary, bonuses, wage increases and other benefits were less than what her male counterparts received for equal work. The complaint also stated that Hesterberg was told she was ready to be promoted to a vice president position, but the promotion never came. When vice president positions came open, the positions were filled by males and sometimes before she knew the positions had opened, according to the complaint.
“The more vocal Plaintiff became about her desire to be promoted into a vice president position, the more her annual reviews suffered,” an amended complaint said. “While she met or exceeded her objective goals and had established an excellent rapport with her customer contacts at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., she was rated worse and worse on the subjective elements of her evaluations. Plaintiff went from a “ready to promote” rating on Defendant’s talent review scale to a “needs improvement” rating.”
Hesterberg was fired on Aug. 29, 2014, as part of a “reduction in force” shortly after Tyson Foods acquired The Hillshire Brands Company. Hesterberg believed she was targeted because of her age and gender. The complaint said Hesterberg was the only female on the Walmart team and the oldest director when she was fired.
Tyson Foods denied the allegations in Hesterberg’s complaint.