Tuesday, September 27, 2022

JBS establishes Muslim discrimination process for $ 5.5 million

DENVER, COLORADO – The second largest producer of beef, pork and chicken in the US will pay up to $ 5.5 million to bring a lawsuit alleging that the company discriminated against Muslim employees at a meat processing plant in northern Colorado .

The U.S. Equal Opportunities Commission filed a lawsuit in federal court in Denver in 2010, saying JBS Swift & Company discriminated against employees at their beef processing plant in Greeley by denying them bathrooms and disciplining them more harshly than other workers because they were Muslim. . immigrants from Somalia and Black.

JBS USA LLC, which operates as JBS Swift & Company, must pay the $ 5.5 million to about 300 employees admitted to the settlement, which was announced by the commission on Wednesday.

Nikki Richardson, a spokeswoman for JBS USA, said the company acknowledges no liability in the settlement, prohibits all discrimination and harassment at its facilities and “is committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.”

Accusations

According to the lawsuit, JBS prevented Muslim employees from praying and harassed them when they tried to pray during scheduled breaks and bathroom breaks.

JBS is also accused of shutting down water fountains during the holy month of Ramadan in 2008, and preventing Muslim Somali workers from having a drink at sunset after a day of fasting, and that they did not pray before have not washed. According to the lawsuit, JBS executives and other employees threw meat or bones at black and Somali employees, called them insulting names and tolerated offensive graffiti in toilets at the Greeley plant, including the use of the N-word and ‘Somalis are disgusting’ .

“This case serves as a reminder that systemic discrimination and harassment remain important issues that we as a society must address,” EEOC chairwoman Charlotte Burrows said in a statement.

Requirements

JBS must take several steps to prevent further discrimination, including allowing former employees covered under the settlement to be eligible for readmission; reviewing, updating and placing its anti-discrimination policy; and the maintenance of a 24-hour hotline to report discrimination. The company will also be required to provide quiet places, outside bathrooms, for employees to pray.

Many Somalis began working at the Greeley plant following a 2006 U.S. immigration and customs enforcement attack in which 270 Spanish workers were detained.

The treatment of the Somali workers came to a head two years later when they asked industry officials to postpone the scheduled meal break from the plant so that they could stop fasting during sunset during Ramadan.

Officials agreed to an earlier meal but changed course three days later, and according to the lawsuit, Muslim workers who were told to pray outside were not allowed back into the factory.

Days later, according to the lawsuit, several workers were fired due to an unauthorized work interruption.

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Nation World News Desk
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