By Megan Pellegrini
Processors have largely stayed out of the headlines for sexual-harassment complaints, but retaliation claims are rising, and the industry needs to make the issue a priority.
In November, roughly 1,000 Smithfield Foods employees walked out of the Tar Heel, N.C., pork processing plant, with 300 remaining behind to picket. Primarily they were protesting inappropriate firings of alleged illegal employees, but they also charged management with 12 years of inaction on sexual harassment complaints and denial of workers compensation.
|Harassment: By the numbers||2000||2001||2002||2003||2004||2005|
|% of Charges Filed by Males||13.6%||13.7%||14.9%||14.7%||15.1%||14.3%|
|Resolutions by Monetary Benefits (millions)||$54.6||$53.0||$50.3||$50.0||$37.1||$47.9|
|Retaliation charges (Title VII only)||19,753||20,407||20,814||20,615||20,240||19,429|