The applications in question were taken at Joslin and West Point between 2003 and 2004; Waterloo in 2003; and Denison in 2002.
The agency alleged the plants discriminated against female applicants for entry-level production jobs, based on the audits. Tyson officials denied the claims, stating there were legitimate non-discriminatory reasons for not hiring the applicants.
“We believe this was really about documentation, not discrimination,” said Ken Kimbro, Tyson senior vice president and chief human resources officer. “The OFCCP’s charges were strictly based on a statistical analysis of job applications at the plant, not on complaints by any applicants, the types of jobs involved or the applicants’ qualifications.”
Tyson has put procedures in place to ensure that it retains documentation to support its hiring decisions since the OFCCP’s audits were conducted. The company also routinely audits its hiring practices to ensure there are not disparities against female or minority job applicants.
“We remain committed to treating all job applicants fairly,” Kimbro said. “Tyson has a very diverse workforce and strict policies prohibiting discrimination in the workplace. We also communicate our position against discrimination through our Core Values and Team Member Bill of Rights.
“It’s our policy to provide a work environment free of unlawful harassment and discrimination,” he added. “This position is also reinforced by the company’s Code of Conduct, which all of our people are required to follow.”
Tyson’s Joslin and Waterloo plants each employ 2,400 people, while the Denison plant employs a staff of 380. Tyson Fresh Meats closed the West Point plant in 2006. During the time periods covered by the OFCCP reviews, minorities represented 52 percent of the combined workforce at the four plants while women represented 31 percent.
Tyson has agreed to pay $2.25 million to approximately 1,640 people who were not hired during the years involved and to make employment offers to 224 qualified applicants who are still interested in working for the company as part of the resolution of the OFCCP claims.
Almost 400 of the 1,640 who did not initially receive employment offers from Tyson were subsequently hired by the company before the filing of the OFCCP complaints. The OFCCP is giving the company credit for these hires.