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Food Distributor to Pay $492k in Back Wages in Latest OFCCP Settlement with Contractor

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Entry level jobs at issue once again

Food distributors seem to be back in the limelight with multiple settlements being posted this year for alleged hiring discrimination in entry level jobs. There has been a high volume of settlements in the food industry over last several years, while the volume of activity seemed to be abating as recently as 2015, but now we seem to have a resurgence of audits closing with six and seven figure settlements as food distributors have found themselves back in hot water with the OFCCP.

For the latest see the link and text below.

Link to full Press Release: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/ofccp/ofccp20160621

Excerpt from Press Release: WILLMAR, Minn. – Jennie-O Turkey Store Inc. has agreed to hire 53 women and pay $491,861 in back wages to 339 female job applicants denied entry-level jobs at its Willmar turkey-processing facility. The company’s action resolves a U.S. Department of Labor lawsuit alleging the global turkey products producer discriminated in its hiring practices.

Jennie-O Turkey Store has received nearly $360 million in federal contracts as a supplier to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for schools and food banks. The company is the nation’s second largest producer of whole and processed turkey products sold to retail and foodservice outlets.

A review by the department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs found Jennie-O’s selection practices discriminated against qualified female applicants for laborer positions from February 2009 to February 2010 in violation of Executive Order 11246. The review prompted the department to file the suit and a consent decree simultaneously to resolve the issue. A judge in the Office of Administrative Law Judges has entered an order adopting the consent decree. The company did not admit liability.

“Discrimination can be prevented when employers have non-discriminatory selection procedures in place and make certain that they are followed,” said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. “Jennie-O has worked proactively with our agency to resolve the agency’s findings of discrimination and has agreed to train personnel involved in the selection process to ensure that non-discriminatory policies are carried out going forward.”

Based in Willmar, Jennie-O Turkey Store, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hormel Foods Corporation. The company has nearly 7,000 employees who produce more than 1,500 products distributed in more than 70 countries worldwide. Jennie-O has been a recognized leader in the turkey processing industry for more than 70 years.

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