Tyson Foods has agreed to pay a US$1.5m charge to settle allegations that the company’s hiring policies discriminated against women and minorities, the US Labor Department revealed yesterday (27 September). 

The money will be divided between more than 2,500 people affected by the settlement, the department said.

The allegations of hiring discrimination emerged during government compliance evaluations conducted between 2002 and 2004 and involve six facilities in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

The company said in a statement that Tyson officials had denied the accusations, that there were legitimate reasons for not hiring the applicants, but that the food group had entered into a settlement to avoid a costly and drawn-out court case.

The Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs accused Tyson of rejecting 1,354 female applicants and 998 minority applicants for entry-level labourer positions. The department also accused the company of unfairly discriminating against 225 minority applicants for long-haul driver positions.