The nation’s largest poultry producer—Texas-based Pilgrim’s Pride Corp.—recently agreed to pay $1 million to settle allegations that it discriminated on the basis of sex and ethnicity in hiring.
The U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs entered into two consent decrees with Pilgrim’s Pride to settle the charges, which stemmed from compliance evaluations conducted at the company’s Dallas and Nacogdoches facilities.
The consent decrees, approved by Chief Administrative Law Judge John M. Vittone, require Pilgrim’s Pride to pay $775,000 in back pay and interest to more than 4,500 applicants rejected from the Dallas facility. More than 800 applicants rejected from the Nacogdoches facility will share $225,000. Pilgrim’s Pride also agreed to hire 462 applicants from the rejected applicants’ pool.
The company denied it acted unlawfully, claiming it had legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for not hiring the applicants. According to the company’s director of corporate communications, “Pilgrim’s Pride agreed to the settlement in order to avoid the costs and time associated with litigation.”