Disabled Laborers And The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOCs) Nightmare

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C. Kenneth Meyer
Allen Zagoren
Kelsie Wolfe
Tristan Lynn
Bill Moorman


Discrimination, Diversity, Americans with Disability Act (ADA, 1990), Disability, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Media Relations, Ethics, Civil Rights Act, 1964 (CRA, 1964), Human Resources Management, Eld


In 2012, EEOC v. Henry’s Turkey Service was one of the largest disability settlements in American history.  Henry’s Turkey Service was ordered to pay $240 million for paying mentally disabled workers with I.Q.s estimated in the 60-70 range, 41 cents per hour and housing them in unsafe housing and health conditions (Hsieh, 2013).  Over forty years, Henry’s Turkey Service relocated hundreds of mentally disabled workers from Texas to Iowa where they were subjected to horrendous living conditions with unlawful, minimal pay—about $65.00 per month, while they worked at a local turkey processing factory in West Liberty, Iowa.  The actual case shows a pattern of violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and Americans with Disability Act, 1990. After a raid of the bright blue, florescent colored, century old school house in Atalissa, Iowa, these employers were brought to justice.  This case study is about one of the largest EEOC settlements in the history of the United States; yet due to federal damage caps was cut to $1.6 million for all of the men and their estates. The graphic account of the inhumane treatment and degradation of the labors presented in this study is not provided for gratuitous or salacious purposes; rather, it places into context what can occur when governmental regulations and laws go unheeded, unenforced and when authorities are apprised of wrongdoing possibilities stand idly by and in this case, do nothing for 35 years. 


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