100 years ago, the American meatpacking industry was exposed for subjecting workers to the nightmare that was work in the stockyards: filthy, exhausting, humiliating, and deadly dangerous. Today, working conditions for meat packing laborers are vastly improved, but it looks like industry leadership still needs a shove when it comes to running a fair and equitable place of employment.

For the third time since February, (see here and here), a meat packing company has been found in violation of federal civil rights law requiring that federal contractors not discriminate on the basis of certain protected classes, including sex and race.

Yesterday, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, the division of the Department of Labor charged with enforcing non-discrimination law against federal contractors, announced that Caviness Beaf Packers Ltd. was found to have discriminated against over 700 job applicants based on their sex and race. As part of the settlement, the company will pay $600,000 and hire approximately 81 of the complainants, as positions become available.

Given that Caviness has a $20 million contact with the Department of Agriculture, which they could face losing if they continue to discriminate, this seems like a smart deal for the Texas-based company.

“The law is clear,” said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. “Discrimination will not be tolerated by employers who profit from lucrative government contracts.” Let’s hope other industry leaders are listening.

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