WASHINGTON—Cargill Meat Solutions has reached a $2.24 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor to resolve charges that the company discriminated in its hiring practices based on race and sex, the government agency announced Wednesday.
The Wichita, Kan.-based company will pay back wages and interest to 2,959 applicants who were rejected for production jobs at facilities in Arkansas, Colorado and Illinois between 2005 and 2009, the Labor Department said. Females, Caucasians, Hispanics and African Americans were among those applicants affected by the settlement.
The company also has agreed to extend 354 job offers to the affected workers as positions open up as well as implement self-monitoring measures to confirm that all hiring practices comply with the law, including record-keeping requirements.
Cargill Meat Solutions denied that it discriminated against applicants and characterized the Labor Department's allegations as "unfounded and without merit."
"After carefully weighing all options, Cargill chose to avoid the cost, business interruptions and uncertainty created by lengthy litigation, and will pay $2.2 million into a settlement fund," the company said in a press release.
The Labor Department noted compliance officers in its Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) found evidence that Cargill's hiring processes and selection procedures violated an executive order by discriminating on the bases of sex, race and/or ethnicity.
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