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PRESS RELEASE
5-12-10

Perdue Farms Settles EEOC Age Discrimination Suit

Chicken Processor Denied 66-Year-Old Worker a Job Because of Her Age, Federal Agency Charged

LEWISTON, N.C.  – Perdue Farms, Inc. will pay $25,500 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed  by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency  announced today. The EEOC had charged in  its lawsuit that Perdue Farms violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act  (ADEA) by refusing to hire a woman for a position because of her age.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit  filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina (EEOC v. Perdue Farms, Inc., Civil Action  No. 2:08-CV-38), Audrey  Sheftall applied for a position in the deboning department at Perdue  Farm’s Lewiston, N.C., facility when she was 66 years old. Although Sheftall was qualified for the  position, the EEOC said, Perdue Farms refused to hire her. According to the EEOC, Perdue Farms  subsequently hired approximately 74 substantially younger individuals within  the month after Sheftall applied, including Sheftall’s granddaughter, who had  applied on the same day as Sheftall.

In addition to paying monetary  relief to Sheftall, the settlement requires Perdue Farms to take other actions,  including providing annual training on age discrimination and unlawful retaliation  to all of its managers and supervisors.  In addition, Perdue Farms must post at its Lewiston facility a notice concerning  employees’ rights under federal anti-discrimination laws and provide periodic  reports to the EEOC on its hiring practices.

“The EEOC is  committed to fighting age discrimination in the workplace,” said Lynette A.  Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC's Charlotte District Office. “Applicants for employment must be evaluated  based on skills and qualifications, rather than based on stereotypes about the  abilities, or inabilities, of older persons.  Every individual deserves the freedom to compete in the workplace on a  fair and level playing field, without discriminatory barriers.”

Perdue Farms is one of the nation’s  largest poultry producers. It has facilities  in 16 states in the Eastern and Southern United States  and employs approximately 20,000 people nationwide. The Lewiston  facility where Sheftall applied processes roughly 40,000 chickens each day for  sale to retailers.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting  employment discrimination. Further  information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.