In a very egregious display of broad discrimination against Latino employees, Labor Solutions of Alabama, LLC has been charged with violations of various anti-discrimination laws that protect employees in this country. The lawsuit, filed on November 15, 2016, alleges that the company subjected Latino employees to unequal working conditions and failed to provide accommodations to those Latino employees with disabilities.
Rampant discrimination at Pilgrim’s Pride poultry processing plant
According to the allegations in the complaint, Labor Solutions of Alabama hired Latinos to work at the Pilgrim’s Pride poultry processing facility in Guntersville, Ala. It is alleged that they were subjected to less favorable terms and conditions of employment than non-Hispanic workers. They were segregated to work in the much less desirable, more hazardous positions. They were also paid less than non-Hispanics and given fewer hours. It is also alleged that the company deducted fees for relocation, housing and transportation from the pay of these workers.
It is also alleged that the company failed to respond to the complaints of ongoing harassment, as well as the requests for accommodations made by the Latino workers suffering from repetitive motion impairments developed as a result of working conditions at Pilgrim’s Pride.
National origin and disability discrimination
According to the district director of the EEOC in Birmingham, “[w]hen employers ignore requests for disability accommodations made by any employee, whether temporary or permanent, foreign- or domestic-born, they may run afoul of federal law.” This lawsuit against Labor Solutions of Alabama, LLC seeks an injunction order from the court requiring the company to comply with Title VII and the ADA, as well as lost wages and benefits, compensatory and punitive damages for the aggrieved employees.
Employee protections provided by Title VII
Most legal protection for employees comes from federal law, which prohibits discrimination and harassment based on gender, race, age, disability, or pregnancy. There are also laws that protect whistleblowers and protect against overtime and other pay violations. Title VII makes it unlawful to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. It is also unlawful to retaliate against someone because they complain about such discrimination, file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, and/or participate in a discrimination investigation or lawsuit. Title VII also requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodations for religious practices that are “sincerely held,” as long it the accommodation would not create an undue hardship on the employer’s business.
Protections under the ADA
Individuals with disabilities are also protected by a federal statute called the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, also known as the “ADA.” The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employers from discriminating against “qualified” individuals with disabilities with regard to employment decisions. The prohibition extends to job application procedures, hiring and firing practices and policies, promotions, discipline, compensation, job training and many other “terms, conditions and privileges of employment.
If you feel you have been the victim of discrimination or retaliation, or if you have any questions regarding your employment rights, please contact Wrady & Michel, LLC, either online or by calling us at (205) 265-1880.