Global Processing

Tyson denies racial discrimination

August 16, 2005

Reuters reports that top U.S. meat processor Tyson Foods Inc. has denied claims of racial discrimination after being sued over two black employees who complained about the posting of a "Whites Only" sign on a bathroom at a poultry plant in Ashland, Alabama. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Tyson on Thursday, August 11, saying two black employees were disciplined after complaining about the sign. In a press release, the EEOC said the two black employees were subjected to disciplinary action by Tyson management, including suspensions, after they complained about the segregated bathroom. The EEOC said it filed suit only after attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The suit alleges that Tyson discriminated against Henry Adams, Leon Walker and other black employees by establishing and maintaining a locked bathroom, which on occasion had signs posted on it stating "Out of Order" and "Whites Only." Tyson said it had been cooperating with the federal agency in its investigation and said the company was "shocked" by the agency''s decision to file a lawsuit. Tyson said the Ashland plant employs about 300 people.