DENVER – A civil lawsuit was filed against JBS USA and employees at the Greeley, Colorado, beef plant for religious and racial discrimination against a former human resource supervisor.

The plaintiff, Kacem Andalib, accuses the company and two human resource officials of failing to promote him, retaliation and creating a hostile work environment according to the US District Court in Colorado complaint. Andalib worked for JBS from October 2014 until his termination on April 11, 2018, according to the filing.

Anthony Rickoff, human resources manager for the beef plant, and Rigo Mendiola, director of human resources at JBS Greeley, were named in the lawsuit.

Rickoff was accused in the suit of discriminating against Andalib. The filing notes that Rickoff referred to Andalib and other Muslim employees as being terrorists.

The lawsuit also accuses Mendiola of promoting Rickoff in retaliation to Andalib for having protested his discrimination despite being less qualified and less experienced.

JBS USA responded to the lawsuit in an email to MEAT+POULTRY.  

“JBS USA strongly disputes the allegations and we will fully defend our interests,”  Cameron Bruett, corporate affairs spokesman for the company said. “We enjoy a diverse workforce of cultures from around the world and work hard to provide an inclusive environment of opportunity for all of our team members. These false accusations are inconsistent with our culture and do not reflect the values of the company or the employees cited in the suit.”

The company was in a legal battle in 2017 stemming from a 2010 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claiming JBS refused to allow Somali Muslim employees to pray according to their religious beliefs. The ruling is still pending in that case.