Cargill unit to pay $1.5M to settle Muslim workers bias suit

Judy Greenwald

9/14/2018 12:30:00 PM

Source: Business Insurance

Cargill Meat Solutions will pay $1.5 million to resolve U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charges that it discriminated against Somali American Muslim employees.


Wichita, Kansas-based Cargill Meat Solutions, a unit of Cargill Inc., said it settled the case, which involved 138 workers, to avoid a protracted legal proceeding.


The EEOC said in its statement Friday that it had found reasonable cause to believe the employees were harassed, denied their requests for prayer breaks and fired from their employment at Cargill’s Fort Morgan, Colorado, beef processing plant.


In addition to the financial settlement, Cargill will continue to conduct mandatory training for all management and hourly personnel at its Colorado facility, explaining employee rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the EEOC said in its statement.


EEOC Phoenix District Director Elizabeth Cadle said in a statement, “We applaud Cargill for working with the charging parties and the EEOC to reach a meaningful resolution enabling all parties to move forward.”


Cargill said in its statement, “While Cargill does not accept the basis of these EEOC complaints, it decided to settle the matter out of court to avoid a protracted legal proceeding and provide all parties with a path forward.”


Brian Sikes, president of Cargill Meat Solutions, said in the statement, “Providing our employees with religious accommodation is an important part of engaging and supporting our employees, and our policy has remained consistent for more than 10 years.”


The EEOC said in August a poultry supplier agreed to pay $3.75 million to settle an EEOC lawsuit that charged it with sexual harassment, national origin and racial discrimination, and retaliation against a class of Hispanic workers in its Mississippi chicken processing plant.