Cargill Meat Settles Bias Claims for $2.2 Million

     WASHINGTON (CN) - Women and other groups of workers will recover more than $2.2 million in back wages as Cargill Meat Solutions settles hiring-discrimination claims.
     The U.S. Department of Labor had filed the charges in 2011 after its Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs found that Cargill's hiring processes and selection procedures at facilities in Arkansas, Colorado and Illinois discriminated on the bases of sex, race or ethnicity.
     Wichita, Kan.-based Cargill agreed to pay $2.2 million in back wages and interest to 2,959 applicants who were rejected for production jobs at facilities in Springdale, Ark.; Fort Morgan, Colo.; and Beardstown, Ill., between 2005 and 2009.
     The Justice Department described the affected workers as "female applicants at Springdale and Fort Morgan, Caucasian and Hispanic applicants at Fort Morgan, and African American and Caucasian applicants at Beardstown."
     Cargill will also offer 354 jobs to the affected workers as positions become available, and it will ensure future legal compliance in hiring practices.
     The Justice Department noted that Cargill Meat Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of Minneapolis-based Cargill Inc., distributes beef, pork and turkey products. It has held more than $1.4 billion in federal contracts since 2005.
     Federal officials had alleged violations of Executive Order 11246.