Most Michigan consumers know Tyson foods as the company that processes the meat they buy in the grocery store. In fact, Tyson is one of the biggest processors of chicken, beef and pork in the country and employs thousands of people. That’s why a recent announcement that it has settled an employment discrimination claim for $35,000 should make other industry players stand up and take notice.
The case that led to this settlement began with a former Tyson employee who applied for a maintenance position at a Missouri facility. He had epilepsy, but had been on epilepsy controlling medication for 12 years and had worked for Tyson twice in the past.
Tyson had recently changed its medical guidelines and declined to hire the man because of his condition. The man enlisted the aid of the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, which argued that Tyson’s conduct was discriminatory and violated the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Late last month, Tyson agreed to pay $35,000 to settle the claim and said it would change its ways. Hopefully, it will rethink its hiring guidelines and behave better in the future.
This story is important because it shows that even big companies that should know better sometimes violate employment laws. If you ever suspect your employee rights are not being observed, it may not be a bad idea to speak with an employment law attorney about your situation. In an ideal world, companies would follow the law, but sometimes they need to be forced into compliance.
Source: The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, “Tyson Foods Settles EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit,” Feb. 23, 2012