After a week-long jury trial, mentally disabled turkey processing workers in Iowa have won the largest settlement in the history of the EEOC: $240 million.
A federal judge ruled that Hill Country Farms, the (Texas-based) company, “had created an unlawful hostile environment for the men and discriminated against them on the basis of their disability.”
The 32 men will receive $7.5 million each.
The details of the case are almost unspeakable. The men were paid 41 cents an hour and housed in insect-ridden sleeping quarters. A psychologist who worked with the EEOC on the case reported that the workers were “‘virtually enslaved’ for many years.” While it is welcome news that the men have received a measure of justice, it defies reason that working conditions such as theirs could exist in this country.