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Press Release 11-16-2022

Keystone Foods LLC to Pay $60,000 to Settle EEOC Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit

Eufaula, Alabama Facility Refused to Rehire Qualified, Eligible Former Employee Who Previously Reported Unfair and Discriminatory Treatment During Pregnancy

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Keystone Foods LLC, which operates a food processing facility in Eufaula, Alabama, agreed to pay $60,000 to settle a retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. 

According to the EEOC lawsuit, Keystone extended job offers to a group of 17 former employees during a series of job fair interviews for positions in its Eufaula plant, but retracted its offer to a female former employee when a records review revealed she previously filed a complaint of pregnancy discrimination and an EEOC charge against her former employer.

This alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which protects pregnant workers from employment discrimination and bars employers from retaliating against employees who report pregnancy discrimination or file an EEOC charge against their employer.  The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Keystone Foods LLC, Case No. 2:21-cv-00629-MHT-JTA) in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama after its Birmingham District Office failed to reach pre-litigation settlement via its voluntary conciliation process.

The two-year consent decree resolving the suit prohibits Keystone from discriminating and retaliating against employees in violation of Title VII.  Additionally, Keystone will issue a written statement to all employees at its Eufaula facility stating it will not violate Title VII by retaliating against employees or job applicants who engage in activity protected under Title VII.  Keystone will educate employees about the process to report complaints of discrimination and retaliation and will conduct training of its employees on the requirements of Title VII, including its anti-retaliation provisions.

“Retaliation remains the most common type of charge filed with the EEOC. Retaliation claims account for over 56% of the total charges,” said EEOC Birmingham District Director Bradley Anderson.  “As this case demonstrates, employers would do well to recognize that Title VII’s anti-retaliation provisions protect both current and former employees.”

“Protecting workers from unlawful retaliation is a central component of the EEOC’s mission,” said Marsha Rucker, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Birmingham District.  “This case serves as a reminder that even former employees are protected under Title VII’s anti-retaliation provisions and that “blacklisting” former employees who exercise their right to file a charge of discrimination is illegal.”

Keystone, who specializes in supplying fresh and frozen animal protein products, including poultry, beef, pork and fish, is a major supplier to the global food service industry.

The EEOC’s Birmingham District consists of Alabama, Mississippi (except 17 northern counties) and the Florida Panhandle.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employ­ment discrimination. More information about pregnancy discrimination is available at  Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.