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Pilgrim’s Pride sued for sex discrimination and retaliation

Belinda Sue Willingham, who started working at Pilgrim’s Pride in Alabama as a poultry worker in January 2002, filed a lawsuit against Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation on December 18, 2014.

In late 2011 or early 2012, Willingham was moved to the “pack out” department, and in July 2012, a new employee named Clarence “Clyde” Tyson began working in the pack out department.

Shortly after he began his employment with the company, Willingham claims that Tyson began sexually harassing her. In July 2012, Tyson allegedly touched Willingham inappropriately on two separate occasions.

In December 2012, Tyson allegedly told Willingham and her female coworker that he had “done had all of you”, by which he meant he had visualized having sexual relations with Willingham, her coworker, and all of the other female employees in the department.

Nearly every day from July 2012 to December 2012, Tyson allegedly yelled across the factory floor to Willingham, using sexually explicit language to tell her what he wanted to “do” to her. Additionally, Tyson allegedly told Willingham on nearly a daily basis that she should divorce her husband and “come over” to him. Often, when Willingham attempted to walk away from Tyson, Tyson allegedly blocked her path and continued to make sexually explicit, harassing comments to her.

Willingham claims that she notified her department lead on numerous occasions of the harassment occurring between July and December 2012, but no action was taken against Tyson other than minor verbal reprimands by the department lead.

The harassment allegedly escalated in January of 2013. On January 7 and January 9, 2013, Tyson allegedly yelled across the factory floor to Willingham to get her attention. He then allegedly moved his apron to the side and began moving his hips and hands up and down in front of him to pantomime receiving oral sex. Willingham claims that told her he was going to have sexual relations with her and he wanted her to perform oral sex on him.

Tyson allegedly told Willingham that if she ever complained about his harassing behavior, he would tell human resources that Willingham had engaged in misconduct in the workplace. On January 9, 2013, Willingham filed a complaint detailing Tyson’s sexual harassment with the company human resources office.

On January 10, 2013, Willingham was asked to report to the main office. She was told that Tyson had filed a complaint against her the previous day, alleging that she had struck him. Willingham claims that this allegation was untrue.

Willingham was sent home from work on January 10th, 2013. On January 15th, 2013, she was terminated from Pilgrim’s Pride. The basis for her
termination was the allegation that she had struck Tyson.

Despite Willingham’s complaints of numerous instances of sexual harassment, she claims that Tyson was not terminated.

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed at the U.S. District Court. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note that a complaint is not an indication of guilt, and it represents only one side of the story.

Pilgrim’s Pride sued for sex discrimination and retaliation
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