Maryland-based Perdue Farms is the subject of a class-action lawsuit that accuses managers of knowingly hiring large numbers of illegal immigrants at its processing facilities, thus driving down the wages of legal hourly workers, the Daily Times of Salisbury Md.
An Illinois woman claims Perdue, Inc., has been dumping its unwanted chicken parts into the carcasses of birds sold at retail outlets.
Friday, Apr 9, 2010 Updated at 11:15 PM EDT
The class-action suit was filed in federal court in Alabama on behalf of all hourly-paid workers who are or have been employed by Perdue Farms Inc. since March 2006 and who are legally authorized to work in the United State.
It is a civil complaint, rather than a criminal case. It alleges that Perdue managers not only knowingly hire workers with false documents, but tip them off before any government raids, according to the Daily Times.
Perdue spokesman Luis Luna said company officials do not think the lawsuit has any merit. “Perdue follows all hiring laws and uses the Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify system to determine an employee’s eligibility to work in the U.S.,” Luna told the Daily Times.
Perdue is based in Salisbury. Other plants named in the complaint are in Accomac, Va.; Bridgewater, Va; Concord, N.C.; Cromwell, Ky.; Dillon, S.C.; Dothan, Ala.; Fayetteville, N.C.; Georgetown, Del.; Lewistown, N.C.; Milford, Del.; Monterey, Tenn.;
Perry, Ga.; Rockingham, N.C.; Showell, Md.; and Washington, Ind.
Ultimately, the plaintiffs hope for a financial settlement. They allege their wages were depressed below a fair rate, due to the hiring of low-paid illegal workers.