University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name EEOC v. TYSON FOOD INC EE-AL-0080
Docket / Court 2:98-cv-02934-UWC ( N.D. Ala. )
State/Territory Alabama
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection EEOC Study -- in sample
Case Summary
The EEOC's Birmingham district office sued Tyson Foods, a national livestock product distributor, and the discriminating supervisor on December 22, 1993 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. The EEOC's complaint, which is unavailable, alleged that Tyson violated Title ... read more >
The EEOC's Birmingham district office sued Tyson Foods, a national livestock product distributor, and the discriminating supervisor on December 22, 1993 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. The EEOC's complaint, which is unavailable, alleged that Tyson violated Title VII when it discriminated against one of its employees based on sex (female) by creating a hostile work environment and constructively discharged her. Tyson filed three motions for summary judgment in July 1995 for partial summary judgment, summary judgment as to the aggrieved employee's constructive discharge claim, and summary judgment as to the aggrieved employee's title VII claim. The court denied all three motions for summary judgment. The alleged discriminator, also in the suit, brought a motion for summary judgment which was also denied. The case went to trial in late October 1995 and the jury returned a verdict for the aggrieved employee.

The verdict, which is described in the docket, enjoined Tyson from subjecting the aggrieved employee to a hostile work environment or retaliating against any employee, required Tyson to reinstate the aggrieved employee, post a notice of compliance with Title VII, pay $69,000 in compensatory damages, pay $8,000,000 in punitive damages, and pay the plaintiff's attorneys' fees. Due to a punitive damage cap on Title VII earnings, however, the final monetary award was $323,000.

Tyson appealed the judgment in July 1996 and the appellate court affirmed the district court's decision, but remanded for determination of the plaintiff's motions for attorneys' fees. The court determined on April 9, 1998 that Tyson would pay the plaintiff $300,000 for attorneys' fees.

Shortly after the determination for attorneys' fees, the court joined this case with two other Title VII cases involving Tyson on February 16, 1999. The second case, for which the docket is not available, was filed by the EEOC against Tyson in the same District Court on July 24, 1995. According to the order to join the cases, the EEOC alleged that Tyson violated Title VII by discriminating against another employee based on sex (female) by creating a hostile work environment and retaliated against her for her complaint.

The docket for the third case is available. That case was filed by the EEOC's Birmingham office on November 24, 1998 against Tyson in the same District Court. The EEOC's allegations mirrored the allegations from the second complaint above. Both of these parties resolved their suits with Tyson through a consent decree between the parties.

The consent decree stipulated that Tyson would pay the employees $2,950,000 in damages, fees and expenses; appoint a monitor to supervise compliance efforts and consult with aggrieved employees who use the internal complaint procedure, which Tyson would have to adopt pursuant to the settlement agreement; post notice of compliance with Title VII; implement a "zero-tolerance" policy for discrimination; adopt anti-harassment policies; provide neutral references for the aggrieved employees; provide training for all employees, supervisory and management personnel at the Blountsville, Alabama plant; and report compliance to the EEOC.

Aaron Weismann - 06/02/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
General
Disparate Treatment
Plaintiff Type
EEOC Plaintiff
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action None on record
Defendant(s) Tyson Foods Inc.
Plaintiff Description Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, on behalf of one or more workers.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2001 - 2004
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Written: Mar. 01, 2008
By: Nancy Levit (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law)
Citation: 49 B.C. L. Rev. 367 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:98-cv-02934-UWC (N.D. Ala.) 06/11/2001
EE-AL-0080-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum of Opinions on Consolidation Motions 03/09/1999 (N.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0080-0002 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
[Order Granting] Motion to Consolidate 03/30/1999 (N.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0080-0001 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Decree 07/09/1999
EE-AL-0080-0003 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges None on record
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers None on record
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

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