Weitz & Luxenberg announced today it is investigating working conditions at poultry processing plants in the United States. The investigation comes after a report published by nonprofit Oxfam America that showed employees on the processing lines at major poultry companies are not given adequate bathroom breaks, leading many to wear diapers to prevent embarrassment when forced to urinate or defecate on the line.
”It seems the poultry industry’s inhumane practices have come home to roost — with its workers treated just as poorly as the chickens they process,” said Robin Greenwald, head of Weitz & Luxenberg’s Consumer Protection unit. ”No one should ever be subjected to such inhumane and humiliating working conditions. This investigation is about finding out the truth and protecting the rights of all workers in the poultry industry.”
According to Oxfam America’s investigation, workers in poultry processing plants often restrict their intake of fluids and liquids to dangerous degrees to lessen their need to relieve themselves, and they are threatened with punishment or termination if they do not return from the rare breaks they are granted. Oxfam also notes that these conditions are particularly concerning for women, who face a higher vulnerability to infections if they are prevented from using the bathroom.
”The health risks associated with not being able to use the bathroom are serious. Employees could develop Urinary Tract Infections — which will spread if left untreated — and UTIs in pregnant women may have harmful health implications for the fetus,” added Greenwald.
Weitz & Luxenberg invites any workers in the poultry industry to come forward and share their personal experiences of such practices with the firm.