Saturday, April 9, 2011
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit against Hill Country Farms alleging the company subjected a group of 31 men with intellectual disabilities to severe abuse and discrimination for more than 20 years.
The complaint alleges that that the owners and staffers of Henry’s Turkey denied the workers lawful wages, paying them only $65 a month for full-time work; subjected them to abusive verbal and physical harassment; restricted their freedom of movement; and imposed other harsh terms and conditions of employment such as requiring them to live in deplorable and sub-standard living conditions, and failing to provide adequate medical care when needed.
Verbal abuses included frequently referring to the workers as “retarded,” “dumb ass” and “stupid.” Class members reported acts of physical abuse including hitting, kicking, at least one case of handcuffing, and forcing the workers with disabilities to carry heavy weights as punishment.
This conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as amended by the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA).
The lawsuit follows an EEOC Commission meeting held March 15, 2011 that explored the issue of discrimination on the basis of mental disabilities.