GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says a federal lawsuit has been filed against Herbruck Poultry Ranch in Ionia County for allegedly creating a “hostile work environment.”
Herbruck’s is located in Saranac. Its president, Greg Herbruck, replied Friday in a written statement:
“Herbruck’s is proud of a company culture of supporting team members with disabilities and helping make sure all team members succeed and excel. We have cooperated with the EEOC’s investigation and complied with all requests for information. We also previously investigated these allegations ourselves, finding them to be without merit, and we will defend ourselves in court.”
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan.
According to an EEOC news release, the “egg producer violated federal law by subjecting a worker to a hostile work environment because of her disability…”. The EEOC also contends Herbruck’s retaliated against Melinda Crooke – a line worker – because she complained about the alleged discriminatory work environment.
Crooke supposedly was mocked by co-workers and supervisor due to disability-related symptoms and not only was no corrective action taken by the company allegedly, but instead “the harassment by the supervisor worsened”, says the EEOC.
According to the EEOC, it seeks to recover “monetary compensation for Crooke in the form of back pay, and compensatory damages for emotional distress, as well as punitive damages.”