Even though it say it didn’t do it, Cargill Meat Solutions has agreed to pay $2.2 million to settle a hiring discrimination case with the U.S. Department of Labor.
The case was filed in 2011 by the DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. The suit charged Cargill with engaging in discriminatory hiring practices involving nearly 3,000 job applicants at meat production facilities in Colorado, Arkansas and Illinois. Cargill, according to the government, rejected workers based on race, sex and national origin.
Cargill Meat Solutions, a unit of Minneapolis-based Cargill Inc., said it agreed to the settlement to avoid the cost of a protracted legal defense against the claims. It called the federal allegations “unfounded and with merit.”
“The decision to settle was not taken lightly, because we work hard every day to ensure compliance with all hiring laws, and we have an unwavering commitment to diversity and equal employment opportunity,” said Cargill Senior Vice President Bill Buckner.
“The plants involved in the bundled settlement include Fort Morgan, Colo. (beef); Springdale, Ark. (turkey); and Beardstown, Ill. (pork). They have diverse employee populations, representing dozens of nationalities. It’s a fact we take great pride in, especially because these communities are thriving with economic prosperity that results from the diverse Cargill employee population.”
The DOL said it had a solid case and that the settlement ensured justice for those who had been wronged.
“This settlement will benefit thousands of workers who were subjected to unfair discrimination,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “And it demonstrates the Department of Labor's commitment to ensuring that everybody has a fair and equal shot at competing for good jobs.”