Tyson Foods Sued for Maintaining 'Whites Only' Bathroom

Via Steve Audio: The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights has sued Tyson Foods for maintaining segregrated bathrooms in its work area.

A lawsuit filed today alleges that Tyson Foods, Inc. is responsible for maintaining a segregated bathroom and break room, reminiscent of the Jim Crow era, in its Ashland, Alabama chicken processing plant. Twelve African-American employees filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, alleging that a “Whites Only” sign and a padlock denied them access to a bathroom in the Ashland plant. The complaint states that numerous white employees had keys to the bathroom that were not provided to African-American workers.

< A Surprising Admission | Slander Suit Dismissed Against Sharon Bush >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    You have GOT to be kidding me! There is NO ambiguity in the case law --those Tyson managers should never have permitted it to go so far--they plainly encouraged/facilitated it. This is a very bad/sad sign of the times.

    Re: Tyson Foods Sued for Maintaining 'Whites Only' (none / 0) (#2)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:45 PM EST
    To echo Scylla... What. The. F*CK??? My dad lives in Rome, Georgia, with a Mexican migrant population that's grown exponentially in the last twenty years, almost entirely to the chicken processing plants. But I had no idea this kind of backwater racism could possibly still exist in an American workplace -- much less a large one run by a huge company.

    This is evidence that supports what Howard Zinn says. Your rights are not what's written in the Constitution. Your rights are what the cop on the street says they are. They're what the foreman at the work site says they are. They're whatever the landlord says they are. People can enforce their rights only when they work together--like this case--to expose petty tyrants.

    Re: Tyson Foods Sued for Maintaining 'Whites Only' (none / 0) (#4)
    by roy on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:45 PM EST
    Tyson's response is described here and here.

    Re: Tyson Foods Sued for Maintaining 'Whites Only' (none / 0) (#5)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:45 PM EST
    Roy, Nice links, and I refer you to the final quote in each of them. First: Charles Guerrier, an EEOC regional attorney in Birmingham, said the allegations point out why it is important for companies to enact diversity training and written policies against discrimination. "True commitment is measured by the environment in which employees work," he said.
    When an employee feels free to lock a bathroom facility and post a "whites only" sign even for only one day, Guerrier said, "that employer has not been effective in delivering the message of equal opportunity to its employees."
    And second:
    "While this country has made great strides in addressing issues of racism, unfortunately there are still people who have not yet gotten the message that segregation in the workplace will not be tolerated," Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, district director of the EEOC's Birmingham district office, said Thursday in a statement.
    Seems the unbiased observers and investigators feel differently than the biased/in-house investigators.

    Re: Tyson Foods Sued for Maintaining 'Whites Only' (none / 0) (#6)
    by LorettaNall on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:45 PM EST
    Small world y'all. Ashland, Alabama is my hometown and in the past members of my family have done time in the Tyson chicken plant. My husband actually joined the army to get away from there. But, I gotta say, all that aside....I simply do not believe this happened. Why? Because Tyson is staffed by a "minority-majority" comprised of African-American and Hispanic people. Only a very few of the absolute poorest white people work there as laborers and they would not qualify for restroom keys even if such a thing were happening. Since doing such a thing would totally piss off and offend the people who do the manual labor at Tyson what would be the benefit? It's all a little bit too cliche` when you look at it close. Now...I could be wrong....but I'll have to see proof of this before I jump on the "Oh those racist Alabama rednecks are at it again" wagon.

    I'm from the South and remember quite well as a child that all the gasoline stations had three restrooms. Ladies, men and colored. However, the story today is probably a little more complicated than a sign on a door saying "whites only". There is probably a restroom up front for management, all white of course, and a restroom for plant workers. They won't allow the plant workers in the "management" section because they're covered with chicken whatever. So the real story isn't in the restrooms, its in the lost opportunities in the "management" section of the plant. I'm guessing this is explanation. I've seen it before.

    Re: Tyson Foods Sued for Maintaining 'Whites Only' (none / 0) (#8)
    by cpinva on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:45 PM EST
    i have to admit, this just seems so flagrant, you have to wonder. on the other hand, given the limited resources available to the EEOC, how quickly are they going to spend those scarce resources jumping on a bandwagon with no band or wagon? i'll wait for the "made for tv movie".

    Let me tell you how this is going to end up... oh, never mind, I think I'll just let you "liberals" stew in it. Say, what do you "liberals" think of Bush allowing illegal aliens to take Katrina reconstruction jobs? Please try to respond as Americanly as possible.

    Re: Tyson Foods Sued for Maintaining 'Whites Only' (none / 0) (#11)
    by Che's Lounge on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:47 PM EST
    Blondon, I grew up in WI and my family once took a christmas car trip to visit my grandparents, who had retired in Mesa AZ. I have a lot of great memories from that trip. Two of them were on the return trip through the deep south. On New Years Eve my sibs and I spent the evening playing with some local black kids who had som fire crackers. I remember one kid steering me away from a dud by saying, "You stay back. You got eyeglasses on." The other memory was seeing the three restrooms at the gas stations. Men, Women, Colored. It was so alien, I never forgot it.

    As a child I had a friend whose father ran a gasoline station on Highway 301, then the route for vacationers going to Florida. We used to play around the station and the three bathrooms are stuck in my mind too. I would note that this was endemic to the South, but would also note that the gasoline stations were built by the major oil companies. Architects somewhere designed these things. I often wonder where these architects were from and who they were. I'm not offering any excuses for what the south was in those days, but watching old movies tells me that this was not just a southern problem; it was a national problem. That has not changed.