Pilgrim’s Pride Employment Dispute Appealed to Fifth Circuit By Former Employee

Clarck Chandler appealed an Eastern District of Texas lawsuit he filed against Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation to the Fifth Circuit where it was docketed on Monday. The plaintiff alleged that he was wrongfully fired by the chicken company, and that it later took steps to ensure that he cannot be employed elsewhere.

Last week’s notice of appeal explained that the judgement the plaintiff wants the court to reconsider was entered on July 14. In that judgment, Judge Michael J. Truncale ordered that all of the relief requested by Chandler was denied.

In the plaintiffs’ initial petition, he claimed that Pilgrim’s Pride violated the Texas Labor Code, and that he should be eligible for damages under that law because the defendant has interfered with his future employment opportunities.

Chandler reportedly worked for Pilgrim’s Pride in accounting and as a live operations manager from 1998 to 2003 and again from 2014 to 2018 and “performed his job duties very competently and proficiently.” He claimed that he was never disciplined until he was fired and told that his job had been eliminated. 

After the plaintiff began employment three months later at Common Disposal, which has broiler chicken farms and transports feed for Pilgrim’s Pride, the defendant allegedly told Chandler’s new employer that it did not want the plaintiff on its chicken farms, limiting his ability to perform his work. Similar actions by Pilgrim’s Pride led to a job offer for the plaintiff from Georgia Poultry being withdrawn. 

Although the plaintiff alleged that he was wrongfully blacklisted by the defendant, Pilgrim’s Pride claimed that there was no evidence to support the plaintiffs’ claim that they interfered with his employment opportunities.  Additionally, they claimed that if the Pilgrim’s Pride employee acted unlawfully, it was done outside of the scope of their employment. 

Additionally, the company purported that while Chandler was the live operations manager, the key performance indicators he was tasked with overseeing were “consistently below expectations.” Reportedly, he was placed on a performance improvement plan and later assigned to work in a different position. 

The plaintiff is represented by Hommel Law Firm and the defendant is represented by Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart