- Koch Foods will pay $3.75 million to settle a class employment discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) (EEOC v. Koch Foods of Miss., No. 11-00391 (S.D. Miss.)).
- Hispanic workers at the company’s Morton, Mississippi, chicken processing plant were subjected to touching and sexually suggestive comments, were hit, were charged money for “normal everyday work activities” and faced retaliation after complaining, EEOC alleged.
- The three-year consent decree also required that Koch Foods implement new policies and practices aimed at preventing future discrimination, provide anti-discrimination training to employees, create a 24-hour hotline for reporting discrimination complaints in English and Spanish and post anti-discrimination notices in its workplace in English and Spanish.
Experts continue to cite front-line managers as a major cause of federal employment law violations. Compliance education is critical to ensuring that when employees lodge a complaint, it gets taken seriously.
It's also important to keep an eye on things, even where no complaints have been lodged, attorney Jonathan Segal told attendees at this year's Society for Human Resource Management annual conference. Executive buy-in for a compliant workplace is also a must, Segal said, explaining that HR can only do the right things if it has the support of company leaders.
And while EEOC officials say they haven't yet seen an uptick in sexual harassment claims in light of the #MeToo movement, many say it's on the way, meaning training and enforcement remains vital.