University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name EEOC v. TYSON FOOD, INC. EE-AL-0081
Docket / Court 1:05-cv-01704-KOB ( N.D. Ala. )
State/Territory Alabama
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection EEOC Study -- in sample
IWPR/Wage Project Consent Decree Study
Attorney Organization EEOC
Case Summary
On August 11, 2005, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of Alabama under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1991 against Tyson Foods, Inc, one of the world's largest food production companies. On the same ... read more >
On August 11, 2005, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of Alabama under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1991 against Tyson Foods, Inc, one of the world's largest food production companies. On the same day, fourteen current and former African American Tyson employees who worked for the defendant's Ashland, Alabama plant filed their own complaint in the same court, 1:05-cv-01720, and a motion to intervene in this lawsuit. The individual plaintiffs sought relief under both Title VII and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. The cases were consolidated on November 1, 2005. Plaintiffs asked the court for injunctive relief and monetary damages, claiming that Tyson had maintained racially segregated facilities and had subjected African American employees to a racially hostile work environment and retaliation and threats. Specifically, plaintiffs claimed that in Tyson's Alabama plant African American employees were locked out of one of the two bathrooms, and that bathroom was marked with a "Whites Only" sign. Managers had knowledge of this practice and did not correct it, and additionally closed the break room frequently used by African American employees for lunch and established a new break room where only certain white employees had keys to the locked refrigerator and cabinets. Plaintiffs further alleged that their white supervisors and fellow employees would harass them and refer to them in racially derogatory terms. Finally, Plaintiffs claimed that during a training session for plant employees, the corporate personnel conducting the session threatened that if an employee filed a racial discrimination lawsuit, the plant would be shut down.

On March 9, 2006, the case was stayed until September 18, 2006 so that the parties could negotiate a settlement through mediation. The court dismissed the case on October 26, 2006, noting that a settlement had been reached by both parties. On November 7, 2006, the case was re-opened and the Consent Decree and Final Judgment entered.

The consent decree, which bound the parties for three years, stipulated that Tyson would not violate Title VII or § 1981 at its Ashland facility by engaging in any discriminatory or retaliatory practices. Tyson was also required to develop a clear policy prohibiting discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, as well as an Equal Employment Opportunity training program for its Ashland employees. The individual plaintiffs and the EEOC were awarded a gross sum of $871,000.

Jennifer Gitter - 03/20/2013


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Expungement of Employment Record
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitoring
Post/Distribute Notice of Rights / EE Law
Provide antidiscrimination training
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Retaliation Prohibition
Discrimination-area
Harassment / Hostile Work Environment
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
EEOC-centric
Direct Suit on Merits
Private Party intervened in EEOC suit
General
Disparate Treatment
Retaliation
Race
Black
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
State law
42 U.S.C. § 1981
Defendant(s) Tyson Foods, Inc.
Tyson Foods, Inc.
Plaintiff Description The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and African American employees who worked at Tyson Food's Ashland, Alabama's plant and who complained of racially discriminatory practices.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations EEOC
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 2006 - 2009
Case Closing Year 2006
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing EE-AL-0117 : Adams v. Tyson Foods, Inc. (N.D. Ala.)
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)
1:05−cv−01720 (N.D. Ala.) 10/26/2006
EE-AL-0081-9001.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
1:05-cv-01704-KOB (N.D. Ala.) 11/07/2006
EE-AL-0081-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 08/11/2005
EE-AL-0081-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
EEOC Press Release 08/11/2005
EE-AL-0081-0012.pdf | Detail
Complaint in Intervention 08/12/2005
EE-AL-0081-0003.pdf | Detail
Dismissal Order 10/26/2006 (N.D. Ala.)
EE-AL-0081-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Decree and Final Judgment 11/07/2006
EE-AL-0081-0010.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
EEOC Press Release 11/07/2006
EE-AL-0081-0013.pdf | Detail
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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