Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Labor Department files lawsuits against Pilgrim’s Pride

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ATLANTA — Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. systematically discriminated against qualified African-American applicants seeking entry-level jobs as laborers and operatives at its chicken plant in Marshville, N.C., the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs alleges in a lawsuit filed against the corporation.

This is the second lawsuit filed by OFCCP against the company in less than 30 days. The first complaint, filed on Sept. 15, 2015, alleges that Pilgrim’s Pride systematically discriminated against qualified African-American, Caucasian, and female applicants for entry-level laborer and operative positions at its chicken plant in Athens, Ala.

Both complaints were filed with the department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges and seek complete make-whole relief, including instatement of qualified black applicants at the chicken processing facility, payment of lost wages, interest, front wages, and other fringe benefits, including but not limited to retroactive seniority.

The complaint results from an OFCCP investigation into the company’s selection procedures.

“Discrimination will not be tolerated by employers who profit from government contracts,” said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. “OFCCP will use every action available by law, including canceling Pilgrim’s federal contracts if necessary, to ensure workers are treated fairly.”

Based in Greeley, Colo., Pilgrim’s Pride is the largest chicken producer in the U.S. The Brazilian food giant JBS S.A. owns 75 percent of Pilgrim’s Pride’s outstanding common stock.

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