Tyson Fresh Meats to pay $2.25 million to settle sex discrimination cases with OFCCP

News Release

OFCCP News Release: [09/20/2011]
Contact Name: Jason Surbey or Laura McGinnis
Phone Number: (202) 693-4668 or x4653
Release Number: 11-0799-NAT

Tyson Fresh Meats to pay $2.25 million to settle sex discrimination cases with US Labor Department

More than 1,650 qualified female applicants denied jobs at 4 Midwest plants

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs today announced that Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. has entered into two consent decrees to settle allegations of sex discrimination. The Dakota Dunes, S.D.–based company will pay a total of $2.25 million in back wages, interest and benefits to more than 1,650 qualified female job applicants who were rejected for employment at facilities in Joslin, Ill.; West Point, Neb.; and Waterloo and Denison, Iowa. Tyson Fresh Meats is a subsidiary of Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson Foods Inc., a federal contractor and one of the world’s largest processors of beef and pork.

“Companies that profit from federal contracts must not discriminate in employment decisions,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “Today’s settlement, one of the largest in OFCCP’s history, means that women who were unfairly denied job opportunities will be compensated.”

During scheduled compliance reviews of the four facilities, OFCCP determined that Tyson Fresh Meats had violated Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sex. Under the terms of the decrees, the $2.25 million settlement will be divided among the rejected female job applicants. Tyson also has agreed to offer jobs to at least 220 of the affected women as positions become available in Joslin, Waterloo and Denison. The West Point plant closed in 2006. Finally, Tyson will undertake extensive self-monitoring and corrective measures to ensure that its employment practices fully comply with the law.

These consent decrees resolve the latest lawsuits in a string of cases brought by OFCCP against subsidiaries of Tyson Foods Inc. In 2008, a Labor Department administrative law judge found that TNT Crust in Green Bay, Wis., systematically had discriminated against Latino applicants in its entry-level position hiring.  Last year, OFCCP settled a case against Tyson Refrigerated Processed Meats after finding evidence that the company had discriminated against 157 African-American and 375 Caucasian job applicants at the company’s bacon processing plant in Vernon, Texas.

“A year after filing suit, the Labor Department has made good on a promise to those job seekers who were denied the opportunity to work simply because they are women,” said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. “We will remain vigilant, particularly with a serial offender like Tyson, to protect the rights of workers who can and should expect basic fairness from a company that profits mightily from doing business with the federal government.”

Tyson Foods Inc. has received federal contracts totaling more than $200 million in each of the past three years and recently was awarded another $8 million contract to provide beef and pork products for resale at two commissary stores in Guam. The company is a major supplier for the U.S. Departments of Defense and Agriculture, and is one of the largest employers in Joslin, Waterloo and Denison.

In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP’s legal authority exists under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. As amended, these three laws hold those who do business with the federal government, both contractors and subcontractors, to the fair and reasonable standard that they not discriminate in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. For general information, call OFCCP’s toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251. Additional information is available at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp.

OFCCP FAQ Series: Federal Contractor Selection System (FCSS)

Beginning in January 2011, OFCCP implemented its new audit strategy that moved the philosophy of compliance evaluations from management to enforcement.  Director Shiu discontinued the previous compliance evaluation strategy of Active Case Management (ACM) and rang in the new year with a new directive, Active Case Enforcement (ACE). The switch to ACE is part of the OFCCP’s plan to continually increase efforts to enforce compliance with the laws and regulations it oversees.

While the change brings an increase to the scope of compliance evaluations, the selection procedure remains unchanged. The OFCCP will continue to use the Federal Contractor Selection System (FCCS) to select establishments for compliance evaluation.

Below are highlights from the OFCCP website’s FAQs on FCCS.

How does OFCCP select contractors’ establishment for a compliance evaluation?

OFCCP’s Federal Contractor Selection System (FCSS) is an administratively neutral selection system that uses multiple information sources and analytical procedures to identify Federal contractor establishments for evaluation.

  • The process may include: Use of EEO-1 reports; development of threshold requirements; and a mathematical model, based on external research, which ranks Federal contractor establishments based on an indicator of potential workplace discrimination.
  • Evaluations are also scheduled on factors such as: contract award notices, directed reviews; conciliation agreement monitoring; individual or class complaints; or as part of the agency’s Corporate Management Compliance Evaluation (CMCE) or Functional Affirmative Action Plan (FAAP) initiatives.

How does OFCCP plan to schedule the evaluations among the selected establishments?

Once identified by the FCSS, establishments selected appear on a computer-generated list developed and maintained by the OFCCP National Office with contract establishments that each Regional/District Office is to schedule during the current scheduling cycle.

  • The Regional/District Office accesses the OFCCP National Office computer system and establishment names are released one at a time in the order determined by the National Office.
  • To ensure consistent and fair application of OFCCP’s neutral selection process, an office only has sequential access to the list and cannot schedule an establishment until taking action on prior candidates (scheduling evaluation or noting reason for rejection).

What scheduling cycle does OFCCP use for the FCSS?

For the past several years, OFCCP’s scheduling cycle has been based on its Fiscal Year (October 1 through September 30).

Each FCSS Scheduling cycle generally includes two scheduling list releases:

  • Beginning of OFCCP Fiscal Year; and
  • Late second quarter/early third quarter of the Fiscal Year (depending on regional office workload).

Is there a limit on the number of establishment compliance evaluations that can be scheduled per contractor?

No. Beginning in Fiscal Year 2010, there is no limit on the number of FCSS compliance evaluations that OFCCP may schedule or conduct per contractor during a fiscal year.

What happened to OFCCP’s 25 establishment cap on FCSS compliance evaluations?

The 25 establishment cap on FCSS compliance evaluation was eliminated as of Fiscal Year 2010.

Can a contractor establishment that is not on the FCSS list be scheduled for a compliance evaluation?

Yes. The list of establishments provided with Corporate Scheduling announcement Letter (CSAL) is not all-inclusive for various reasons including:

  • Company establishments that are not clearly associated with the parent organization through EEO-1 Reports, such as those acquired through recent mergers;
  • Company headquarters or any approved FAAPs;
  • Preaward compliance evaluations;
  • Compliance evaluations based upon report of an alleged violation of law or regulation enforced by OFCCP

Can a contractor establishment that was evaluated recently be scheduled for another evaluation?

A contractor establishment that has undergone a compliance evaluation during the 24 months prior to the development of the FCSS list that is still subject to reporting obligations from prior compliance evaluation should not be scheduled. If scheduled, a representative should contact the local OFCCP office issuing the scheduling letter.

OFCCP may, however, schedule a follow-up compliance evaluation if:

  • There is an indication that the establishment is not complying with reporting requirements or agreed upon actions resulting from an active Conciliation Agreement;
  • OFCCP receives individual or class complaint; or

OFCCP receives credible report of alleged violation of law of regulation it enforces.

OFCCP Files Complaint Against Colorado-Based Cheese Producer For Discriminating Against Minority Job Applicants

News Release

OFCCP News Release: [09/01/2011]
Contact Name: José Carnevali or Deanne Amaden
Phone Number: (415) 625-2631 or x2630
Release Number: 11-1291-SAN

US Labor Department files complaint against Colorado-based cheese producer for discriminating against minority job applicants at California facility

Back wages and job offers sought for African-American, Asian and Hispanic applicants; debarment from future government contracts recommended

LEMOORE, Calif. —The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs today filed a complaint with the department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges against federal contractor Leprino Foods Co. for discriminating against qualified African-American, Asian and Hispanic applicants for on-call laborer positions at the company’s Lemoore West facility.

The administrative complaint seeks back wages and interest for at least 270 class members, as well as job offers for at least 17 of the original applicants. OFCCP also is requesting that Leprino Foods’ existing federal contracts be canceled and the company be debarred from entering into any future contracts until the violations are resolved and the company corrects its discriminatory employment practices.

“Leprino Foods’ hiring process simply doesn’t pass the sniff test,” said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. “When workers are denied employment because of factors that have nothing to do with their ability to perform the job, something is not right. Our message to the company is clear: Correct your discriminatory practices and make restitution to the victims or lose your lucrative federal contracts.”

Under Executive Order 11246, federal contractors cannot discriminate in employment practices with regard to race and national origin. Data collected from Leprino Foods showed that the company’s use of a job skills assessment called the WorkKeys exam adversely impacted minority applicants. During OFCCP’s review, which examined hiring practices for a 22-month period, the agency found that only 49 percent of otherwise qualified minority applicants passed the exam, compared with more than 72 percent of non-minority applicants. OFCCP could not substantiate the employer’s claim that the exam measured applied math, workplace observation and information location skills related to the essential functions of on-call laborers. On-call laborers perform a variety of entry-level tasks, including inspecting products, monitoring equipment and maintaining sanitation at the facility.

Denver-based Leprino Foods is the nation’s largest producer of mozzarella cheese. The company has contracts totaling $5 million with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide mozzarella and whey products to the Farm Services Agency.

In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP’s legal authority exists under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. As amended, these three laws hold those who do business with the federal government, both contractors and subcontractors, to the fair and reasonable standard that they not discriminate in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. For general information, call OFCCP’s toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251. Additional information is available at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp.

Solis v. Leprino Foods Co.