US JBS Must Open 24-Hour Hotline to Report Discrimination, Pay $5.5M to Muslim Ex-Employees
JBS cyberattack: Meat producer will be back up and running Wednesday after its hack. But for some employees, that's too late
Even as meat producer JBS resumed operations at many of its US beef plants nationwide Wednesday after a cyberattack shut down all beef production at facilities around the nation this week, workers like Erika Gutierres remain worried what the disruption might mean for their paychecks. © Michael Ciaglo/Bloomberg/Getty Images The JBS Beef Production Facility in Greeley, Colorado, U.S., on Tuesday, June 1, 2021. A cyberattack on JBS SA, the world's largest meat producer, has forced the shutdown of some of the largest slaughterhouses globally, and there are signs that the closures are spreading.
Meatpacking company JBS Swift & Company must open a 24-hour hotline to report discrimination and pay up to $5.5 million to former Muslim employees to settle a lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced Wednesday.
The commission's lawsuit filed in federal court in Denver in 2010 said JBS discriminated against Muslim, Somalian migrants and Black employees at its U.S. headquarters in Greeley, Colo. The $5.5 million is to be paid to 300 employees named in the settlement.
Meat producer JBS hit by ransomware attack from group 'likely based in Russia'
The Biden administration said Tuesday that it had been notified of a ransomware attack targeting the meat processing company JBS. "Meat producer JBS notified us on Sunday that they are the victims of a ransomware attack," White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters, adding that the firm "notified the administration that the ransom demand came from a criminal organization likely based in Russia.
"This case serves as a reminder that systemic discrimination and harassment remain significant problems that we as a society must tackle," Charlotte Burrows, the EEOC's chair, said in a statement.
JBS was accused of numerous discriminatory acts such as preventing Muslim employees from praying and harassing them when they attempted to do so during scheduled work breaks.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:
The lawsuit said JBS discriminated against employees at its plant in Greeley by denying them bathroom breaks and disciplining them more harshly than other workers because they were Muslim, immigrants from Somalia, and Black.
JBS USA LLC does business as JBS Swift & Company.
JBS paid $11 million to hackers to resolve ransomware attack
Major meat producer JBS USA said it paid the equivalent of $11 million to hackers to resolve a ransomware attack that forced the company to shut down its beef plants. The company said in a statement on Thursday that it made the decision to "mitigate any unforeseen issues related to the attack and ensure no data was exfiltrated." Andre Nogueira, CEO of JBS USA, told The Wall Street Journal that the company paid the ransom in bitcoin. "This wasThe company said in a statement on Thursday that it made the decision to "mitigate any unforeseen issues related to the attack and ensure no data was exfiltrated.
Nikki Richardson, a spokeswoman for JBS USA, said the company does not admit any liability in the settlement, prohibits all discrimination and harassment at its facilities and "is committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace."
According to the lawsuit, JBS also prevented Muslim employees from praying during bathroom breaks.
JBS also was accused of shutting off water fountains during the holy month of Ramadan in 2008, keeping Muslim Somali workers from getting a drink at sundown after a day of fasting, and from washing before prayers. According to the lawsuit, JBS managers and other employees threw meat or bones at Black and Somali employees, called them offensive names and tolerated offensive graffiti in restrooms at the Greeley plant, including the use of the N-word, "Somalis are disgusting," "F*** Somalians" and "F*** Muslims."
JBS must take several steps to prevent further discrimination, including allowing former employees covered under the settlement to be eligible for rehire; and reviewing, updating and posting its anti-discrimination policies. The company also will be required to provide quiet locations other than bathrooms for employees to pray.
Hillicon Valley: Meat producer JBS USA hit by cyberattack | White House says JBS hack likely from Russia | Report finds Amazon injury rate above warehouse standard
Welcome to Hillicon Valley, The Hill's newsletter detailing all you need to know about the tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. If you don't already, be sure to sign up for our newsletter by clicking HERE. Welcome! Follow our cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and tech team, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@chrisismills) and Rebecca Klar (@rebeccaklar_), for more coverage.The largest beef supplier in the U.S. was hit by a ransomware attack over the weekend that disrupted operations in North America and Australia, with the White House announcing Tuesday that the company believes Russian-based hackers to be responsible.
Many Somalis started working at the Greeley plant following a 2006 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid in which 270 Hispanic employees were detained.
The treatment of the Somali workers came to a head two years later when they asked company officials to move the plant's scheduled meal break so they could stop fasting at sunset during Ramadan.
Officials agreed to an earlier meal break but changed course three days later and, according to the lawsuit, Muslim workers who were told to go outside to pray weren't allowed back into the plant.
Days later, several workers were fired for what the company said was an unauthorized work stoppage, according to the lawsuit.
JBS is the second-largest producer of beef, pork and chicken in the U.S.
Ransomware: Meat firm JBS says it paid out $11m after attack .
Can the FBI recover some of the ransom?Worried business man after falling victim to a cyberattack.