Title VI Related to Workplace COVID-19 Policies
Food Chain Workers Alliance v. Tyson Foods, Inc.
On July 8, 2020, Food Chain Workers Alliance (“FCWA”) and other worker’s rights entities filed a complaint with the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against Tyson, JBS USA, Inc., and other meat processing facilities.
Title VI specifically protects workers from disparate impacts based on race and is invoked when a company receives federal funding from federal agencies such as USDA. The majority of the 32,151 COVID-infected individuals working in the processing facilities are African American or Hispanic. FCWA claims these processing facilities failed to implement Center for Disease Control (“CDC”) recommended policies to mitigate their minority workers’ exposure to COVID-19. Alternatives suggested by FCWA to mitigate COVID-19 associated risks include: 6-foot distancing, barriers between workers, slowing processing rates and increasing available shifts, requiring face coverings, and conducting health screenings before the start of each shift.
We will monitor the status of this case and USDA’s response. We continue to recommend that facilities implement policies and procedures in compliance with CDC and Cal/OSHA COVID-19 guidelines. View Update