US Labor Dept. alleges discrimination by Cargill

JEANNIE NUSS Associated Press Published:

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- The U.S. Labor Department says one of the nation's largest meatpackers systematically discriminated against more than 4,000 qualified applicants who sought entry-level jobs at a turkey processing plant in Arkansas.

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has filed a complaint against Cargill Meat Solutions, a subsidiary of Minneapolis-based Cargill, Inc. Officials want to cancel Cargill's existing government contracts and prevent future contracts until the company stops what they call discriminatory practices.

Cargill Meat Solutions holds contracts worth more than $550 million with the U.S. Department of Defense.

The Labor Department says women were less likely to be hired and Asian and Pacific Islander applicants were unfairly favored.

Cargill spokesman Mike Martin says the company is disappointed by the allegations and minorities make up 84 percent of the plant's workforce.

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