Bias suits settled with Gold'n Plump, job agencyIt’s important to keep in mind that this was a settlement, not the result of a trial on the merits. The court’s opinion approving the settlement found that Gold’n Plump and the employment agency were forced to settle because the expenses of proceeding with the case would have risked financial disaster.
Muslim workers receive $1.35 million under a religious discrimination settlement.
Last update: March 31, 2009 - 11:00 PM
A federal judge gave approval for Gold'n Plump Inc. and an employment agency to pay $1.35 million to settle lawsuits alleging religious discrimination against Muslims at a chicken processing plant in Cold Spring, Minn.
The money will go to 128 Somali Muslims who claim that St. Cloud-based Gold'n Plump violated their religious rights by refusing to allow them prayer breaks during work hours, and to another 28 workers who said a St. Paul employment agency, the Work Connection Inc., required them to sign forms acknowledging they would be required to handle pork.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigated the allegations and said it found cause to believe discrimination occurred, according to lawsuits filed last year.
In a settlement approved Tuesday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeanne Graham, Gold'n Plump will add a paid break during the second half of each shift to accommodate Muslim employees who wish to pray. The break is in addition to one early in the shift and lunch breaks required by law.
The Work Connection has agreed to provide offers of employment to the 28 job seekers who were turned away for not signing the "pork form."
The $1.35 million settlement includes $985,000 for legal costs and $365,000 in cash payments to the 156 workers.
A major factor motivating TWC and Gold’n Plump to settle was the adverse effect of litigation costs on their insurance policy limits. Both Gold’n Plump and TWC had liability insurance for the types of claims asserted in this case, but the
policies contained provisions that reduced the amount of money available to pay a judgment as litigation expenses increased. Thus, as litigation proceeded, the assets of TWC and Gold’n Plump were increasingly exposed. Furthermore, TWC’s and Gold’n Plump’s attorneys’ fees were being paid from the same pool of insurance money that was potentially available to pay a judgment, and further litigation would have continually eroded this fund.
Trial lawyers strategize for just these kinds of advantages. They trawl for cases where the costs of litigation force defendants to settle even where there’s no likelihood a jury is going to find any wrongdoing.
Not only do the trial lawyers get an easy near -million in attorney fees, but the Muslim employees win an easy victory imposing Sharia rules in the American workplace.