Just four days ago we posted about Pilgrim’s Pride and the recall of millions of pounds of chicken nuggets. We believe that because Pilgrim’s Pride is an institutional food supplier, much of its products have been sold to the military, schools and the government. When we first posted, we were seeking whistleblowers (insiders) with information about the sale of dangerous, adulterated or contaminated products to the government. Since that post, we learned today that the Department of Labor has now sued the company seeking to cancel approximately $75 million of food service contracts.
At first, you might think that the government wanted out of its contracts because the nuggets sold by Pilgrim’s Pride may be contaminated with “extraneous materials, including plastic, wood, rubber, and metal.” The newest action, however, is by the Department of Labor. They claim the company engages in widespread discrimination based on gender and race.
Pilgrim’s Pride Accused of Discrimination
In an administrative complaint just filed this week, the Labor Department claims that the company has been engaged in discriminatory practices back to 2005. According to a Labor spokesperson, “The company has won millions in federal contracts, but refuses to comply with anti discrimination laws that apply to those contractors. When contractors accept federal funds, they agree to take steps to make sure taxpayer money is never used to discriminate in hiring or employment — something Pilgrim’s Pride has failed to do.”
The complaint is somewhat confusing in that many of the allegations appear to be very old yet the complaint is just being filed. The complaint comes on the heels of two other discrimination claims levied by the Department of Labor against the company.
Pilgrim’s Pride, Contaminated Food and Whistleblower Awards
Very often we find that companies that mistreat their workers also defraud the public and taxpayers. As we noted in our earlier post, Pilgrim’s Pride is no stranger to food safety concerns. If the company knowingly sold tainted products to the government or public schools, it could be liable under the federal and state False Claims Acts. Those laws allow a whistleblower to receive an award for coming forward with information about fraud.
In 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice paid over $435 million in whistleblower awards under the False Claims Act. States paid out millions more.
If you have inside information about contaminated products (food or drugs) to the government or in which government funds are used, you may be entitled to an award. To qualify for an award, one must file a sealed complaint in federal court detailing the fraud. The government must then investigate and decide whether to intervene or allow the whistleblower’s counsel to proceed.
Mahany Law Seeking Whistleblowers
Interested in becoming a whistleblower? Read our 11 step guide on blowing the whistle or simply give us a call. All inquiries are protected by the attorney – client privilege and kept confidential. Even if you decide not to go forward or hire us, your information remains privileged.
For more information, contact attorney Brian Mahany at or by telephone at (414) 704-6731 (direct). To date, our whistleblower clients have received over $100 million in awards. We have the experience to take on defendants no matter how powerful or big they may appear.
MahanyLaw – America’s Whistleblower Lawyers