DECATUR, Ala. (WHLT) – One of the nation’s largest poultry producers is facing a lawsuit by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Wayne Farms, LLC is accused of discriminating against employees because of their disabilities.
EEOC states Wayne Farms violated employees’ rights by maintaining an “inflexible attendance policy”.
That policy conflicts with “Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which mandates that private employers provide reasonable accommodations to persons with disabilities, absent undue hardship, and prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities”.
The EEOC is seeking lost wages and benefits, compensatory and punitive damages.
Wayne Farms, LLC released the following statement to WHLT:
Wayne Farms LLC plans to actively dispute an EEOC class-action lawsuit concerning the company’s employee leave policy. The lawsuit stems from allegations that arose in 2011 that were investigated by the EEOC relating to employee absenteeism and termination of employees following repeated, unexcused absences.
“While we have not seen the EEOC’s reported disability discrimination suit, it appears it was based on the extensive investigations conducted five years ago. Wayne Farms is completely confident that management met all legal and contract obligations to the two Decatur, Alabama employees who filed the underlying EEOC charges, neither of whom raised any issue through the agreed union contract processes. Given the facts we presented in response to the investigation, and given the EEOC’s inexplicable delay in pursuing this matter, we will vigorously defend the action when received,” said Jeremy Kilburn, the Vice President and General Counsel for Wayne Farms.