El Paso Times

Athens, GA (AP) — A federal jury has awarded $415,000 to two former poultry plant employees who were fired for complaining about fraud, hiring discrimination and other abuses by supervisors.

The U.S. District Court jury found that ConAgra Poultry Co.?later bought by Pittsburg, Texas-based Pilgrim’s Pride Corp.?fired the women in September 2003 after they blew the whistle on an assistant to the human resources manager who made a fake Social Security card for an illegal immigrant who worked a side job for the plant’s general manager.

The panel also found that the manager’s assistant authorized falsified insurance coverage so another employee could claim his sister and nephew?also illegal immigrants?as dependents on his health plan.

In a decision Tuesday, the jury awarded Scarlet Reyna and Maria Ortega a combined $415,000 for lost wages and benefits, as well as emotional pain and mental anguish. They worked in the human resources department of the poultry plant in northern Clarke County.

The case was among the first of its kind to go to trial since Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which provides protection for whistleblowers, plaintiffs’ attorney John F. Beasley Jr. said.

‘Ms. Reyna and Ms. Ortega are very courageous women,’ Beasley said Thursday. ‘They were loyal to the company but refused to tolerate racial hostility and dishonesty by their supervisors.’

Attorneys for ConAgra and Pilgrim’s Pride did not return telephone calls from The Athens Banner-Herald seeking comment. Spokespeople for Pilgrim’s Pride did not immediately respond to the AP’s request for comment Friday.

4 Responses to “Ex-Poultry Plant Employees Win Federal Lawsuit Over Firings ”

  1. 1 Mountain Man

    Good for these women. We need more people like these ladies who will stand up to dishonest supervisors catering to illegal aliens.

  2. 2 George(formerly-Ed)

    Yeah we need a lot more of them.that Manager assistant needs his ass kicked for Falsifying doc so that illegal could get his sister & nephew health plan.

  3. 3 Angel

    Thanks Watchdog. I didn’t know about this and this is less than an hour away from where I live.

    Why is El Paso reporting it and not the local news in Georgia????

  4. 4 bdiddy

    Aiding and abetting - where is the fine in this? True Americans those ladies are.

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