Wayne-Sanderson Farms to Pay $62k to Settle Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

June 22, 2023
EEOC will monitor poultry processor’s Summit, Miss., plant’s future compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.

Oakwood, Ga.-based poultry processor Wayne-Sanderson Farms has agreed to pay $62,384 and furnish significant equitable relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought against two divisions of the company by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), according to a release from the federal agency.

The lawsuit charged Sanderson Farms LLC and Sanderson Farms LLC (Processing Division) with firing a long-term disabled employee at the Summit, Miss., processing plant after he sought a reasonable accommodation for a severe cluster headache and migraine condition.

According to the release, the companies “refused to discuss the employee’s request for accommodation, sent him home to await further discipline, and ultimately fired him because of his disability and in retaliation for seeking the accommodation.”

This alleged conduct would be in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The lawsuit was filed by EEOC after it failed to reach a pre-litigation settlement through conciliation. In addition to the monetary portion of the settlement, Sanderson Farms is prohibited from discriminating based on disability in the future and is required to revise the ADA policy against discrimination. The companies must provide ADA training to Summit plant employees and post the revised policy in English and Spanish. EEOC will monitor compliance.

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.