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Pilgrim's Discrimination Suit
Yurii Bukhanovskyi, Bigstock
on May 26, 2016

Pilgrim’s: Allegations of discrimination lack merit

U.S. Department of Labor accuses poultry company of discriminatory practices when hiring at facility in Mount Pleasant, Texas

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has filed a lawsuit, alleging that one decade ago Pilgrim’s discriminated against female, African American and white applicants hoping to work at its poultry plant in Mount Pleasant, Texas.

The poultry company, however, stated that the agency’s allegations were based entirely on statistical analyses and have no merit. Pilgrim’s added that it will “vigorously defend” its hiring practices at trial.

According to the Department of Labor, an OFCCP compliance review found that from July 2005 to July 2007, the company discriminated against African American and white applicants for semi-skilled jobs, and against female and white applicants for unskilled jobs at the Texas facility.

The agency also accuses Pilgrim’s of failing to:

  • Keep and preserve required personnel and employment records.
  • Properly conduct required analyses of whether its employment practices had an adverse impact on women or minority groups.
  • Show that the lifting requirements established for various positions were job-related and consistent with business necessity.

Pilgrim’s responds to allegations

“Pilgrim’s strongly disagrees with the allegations from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) regarding our hiring practices more than 10 years ago. We are an equal opportunity employer that offers employment to qualified individuals without regard to sex, gender, age, race, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation or protected veteran status,” the company said in a statement.

 “The federal government’s continued attempt to solely use statistical analyses to identify contractor hiring shortfalls is misguided, as the U.S. Department of Labor’s own court of appeals, or Administrative Review Board, ruled just last week in throwing out a nearly identical claim against the Bank of America. That case, also regarding more than 10 year old hiring claims, used the same failed legal analyses OFCCP has made against Pilgrim’s.”

The company also stated that none of the thousands of job applicants or Pilgrim’s team members have filed a single complaint against the company’s hiring practices over the past 11 years. 

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