Friday, October 14, 2005

If you'll be my Dixie chicken...part II

Tyson Foods has a love/hate relationship with diversity and minorities: they love diversity, but hate minorities, as we have previously posted here and here.

Tyson's legal problems continue to grow. Like some Bizarro chess game where players join rather than retire, the current lawsuit by the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights has been supported by a suit from the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission):
After complaining to Tyson Foods, Inc. about the posting of a "Whites Only" sign on one of Tyson's restrooms at its Ashland, Alabama, facility, two black employees were subjected to adverse personnel actions by Tyson management, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleges in a discrimination lawsuit announced today.

The EEOC's suit, EEOC v. Tyson Foods, Inc., CV-05-BE-1704-E (U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama), alleges that Tyson's violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by discriminating against Henry Adams, Leon Walker, and other black employees, by establishing and maintaining a locked bathroom facility, which on occasion had signs posted on it stating "Out of Order" and "Whites Only". Keys to the facility were distributed to white employees only. After Mr. Adams and Mr. Walker complained of the segregated facility, management subjected them to adverse employment actions, including suspensions and disciplinary write-ups.

That a federal agency, in these times of corporate laissez fare governance and oversight, has taken on this battle is telling. The EEOC seems to feel that the lawsuit has merit, and that bodes well for the plaintiffs.

Tyson, on the other hand, should start to worry. As the right-wing ideologs in power suddenly seem amateurish, craven, and, finally, criminal, the public's contempt for bad behaviour will grow. There will always be apologists for racism, as we pointed out in our last post (reverse discrimination!), but this time, Corporate America should start being good citizens, before they lose all credibility, and customers.

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