Feds file suit alleging discrimination at JBS plant in Utah

Feds file suit alleging discrimination at JBS plant in Utah

By Lisa M. Keefe on 12/29/2014

A lawsuit filed earlier this month by the federal Department of Labor alleged that JBS USA "systematically discriminated against qualified female, Caucasian, African American and Native American applicants seeking entry-level jobs" at the processing giant’s beef-processing plant in Hyrum, Utah, the agency said in a news release posted on its website.

The suit was filed by the Labor Dept.’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). The complaint followed an investigation by the OFCCP, the release said, an investigation that "also found JBS failed to perform in-depth analyses of its employment processes to determine if impediments to equal employment opportunity existed, as required in JBS’s federal contracts and by OFCCP regulations."

OFCCP reviewed the facility’s compliance with a department executive order that prohibits federal contractors from discriminating against job applicants on the basis of sex, race or national origin. The office found that in 2005 and 2006, the facility’s selection criteria were inconsistently applied. Investigators determined that the hiring process unfairly discriminated against women who applied for jobs as laborers. OFCCP also found that in 2008 and 2009, the company discriminated against Caucasians, African Americans and Native Americans who applied for these positions.

Based in Greeley, Colo., JBS USA is a wholly owned subsidiary of JBS S.A., based in São Paulo, Brazil. In July 2007, JBS purchased Swift and Co., previous owner of the Hyrum plant. From 2005 to 2009, JBS and Swift collectively received more than $140 million in federal contracts as providers of meat, poultry and seafood to agencies, such as the departments of Defense and Agriculture.