SPRINGDALE, Ark. – The US Dept of Labor. announced Oct. 4 that Tyson Foods has agreed to pay $1.6 million to settle federal allegations of hiring discrimination in six of its plants in Arkansas, New Mexico and Texas. The suit, on behalf of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), alleged that the company discriminated when hiring employees on the basis of sex, race or ethnicity.


Tyson did not admit liability in the case but agreed to pay back wages, interest and benefits to 5,716 applicants were turned down for employment between 2007 and 2010 at six facilities. The laborer jobs were at Tyson plants in Rogers and Russellville, Arkansas; Santa Theresa, New Mexico; and Amarillo, Houston and Sherman, Texas.

“We’re disappointed by the OFCCP’s claims, since we work hard to comply with all hiring laws and to treat all job applicants fairly,” Lola Hithon, vice president of employment compliance for Tyson Foods, said in a statement.

The OFCCP’s claims are based on a statistical review of job applications from six to nine years ago, not on any complaints from job applicants, according to Tyson.

“Tyson Foods contends there were legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for rejecting applicants who were not hired,” the company said in a statement. “The company also reports that through its normal hiring practices it has already hired 60 percent of the people from the affected gender and ethnic groups it is required to employ as part of the resolution with the OFCCP.”