Thursday, August 8, 2019

"ICE Raids Miss. Plant After $3.75 Million Sexual Harassment Settlement"

Payday Report:

In 2018, following a nearly eight-year-long legal battle, Koch Foods Inc. settled a $3.75 million brought by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Koch Food Inc at the plant. The lawsuit alleged that Koch Foods Inc supervisors engaged in both racial and sexual harassment of Latina workers at its Morton, Mississippi plant.

The lawsuit brought by the EEOC against Koch Food Inc’s alleged “that supervisors touched and/or made sexually suggestive comments to female Hispanic employees, hit Hispanic employees and charged many of them money for normal everyday work activities.”

As part of its settlement, Koch Foods Inc. agreed to a three-year federal consent decree to change its discriminatory practices. As part of the consent decree, Koch Foods Inc. was forced to create a 24-hour-a-day bilingual hotline for workers to use to file complaints.

Many immigrants rights advocates have speculated that workers are targeted for raids after their facilities get investigated for worker abuse.

In June of 2018, ICE raided a unionized Fresh Mark meatpacking plant in Salem, Ohio; arresting 140 workers.

A week before the raid on a Fresh Mark’s Salem facility, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined Fresh Mark $211,194 for three separate incidents in which proper guards for dangerous machinery were not in place. OSHA found that the lack of safety guards resulted in the death of an undocumented worker.
From a August 1, 2018 AP article about the settlement:
The agreement was filed Tuesday in federal court, and a judge signed off on a three-year consent decree. Koch Foods has agreed to take specific actions to prevent future discrimination, including training and creating a hotline.

Koch Foods said in a statement that the allegations were fabricated in a bid to obtain work authorizations through a visa.
From the NYT's summary of yesterday's raids:
The operation was the culmination of a yearlong investigation