Posted on November 30, 2011

U.S. Pressures Cargill on Job-Bias Complaint

Scott Kilman, Wall Street Journal, November 30, 2011

The U.S. Labor Department, trying to force Cargill Inc. to settle job-discrimination allegations lodged by the agency, is seeking to cancel meat contracts it says are worth more than $550 million that the closely held Minneapolis commodity-processing giant has with the U.S. military.

The Labor Department, which has the authority to audit the hiring practices of companies that do business with the federal government, said Tuesday that its contract-compliance office filed an administrative complaint aimed at Cargill’s turkey-processing plant in Springdale, Ark.

The complaint, filed with the Labor Department’s administrative law judges, alleges that managers at the turkey plant unfairly preferred to hire Asian-American and Pacific Islander applicants over other racial groups, including blacks, Hispanics and whites.

Cargill, which has its headquarters in suburban Minneapolis, denied the discrimination allegations, which it said were based on the department’s faulty interpretation of historical hiring statistics “and not reality,” said Mike Martin, a Cargill spokesman, who added that 84% of Cargill’s Springdale workers are minorities.


Cargill’s Springdale turkey plant was linked to last summer’s food-poisoning outbreak caused by an antibiotic-resistant strain of salmonella. {snip}