Iowa Judge Slashes Fine for Texas Turkey Processor

August 6, 2010

A judge has ruled that a Texas company accused of abusing and underpaying several mentally disabled workers must pay just 15 percent of a fine proposed by an Iowa state agency.

An administrative law judge ruled that Henry’s Turkey Service must pay $174,660 for failing to pay the minimum wage to its mentally disabled staff.

Iowa Workforce Development, the agency that enforces state labor laws, orignally proposed a fine of $1,164,400. The company has disputed abuse claims and argued that it wasn’t subject to Iowa’s labor laws.

A report from the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that Henry’s Turkey Service has underpaid the men at least $1 million over three years, verbally and physically abused them, and committed several major violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to a previous report in the Des Moines Register.

Henry’s Turkey Service housed the men in a dilapidated bunkhouse in Atalissa, Iowa, and put them to work at the plant in West Liberty. The bunkhouse was closed by the state fire marshal in February 2009.

State officials and representatives of Henry’s declined to comment on the case.

Information from: The Des Moines Register

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