Orthodox Judaism In Action

The Forward reports:

In 2004, an undercover investigator for the animal rights group PETA worked in the chicken department at Agriprocessors, the country’s largest kosher slaughterhouse. A few days into the job, the investigator contracted campylobacter, a bacterial infection common to chickens. The illness, which caused bloody stools, led him first to the company’s doctor and then to the emergency room. Soon thereafter, he went to Agriprocessors’ human resources director to seek reimbursement for his medical bills. He recorded the meeting on a hidden camera and the following is a transcript of their exchange:

PETA Investigator: So what happened . . .

Human Resources Director: You went to the emergency room.

PETA Investigator: I went to the emergency room. I had really bad issues, I was bleeding. They did a stool culture and they determined that it was a bacterial infection as opposed to a viral. They said it was campylobacter and I got my records from them when I went to [the Agriprocessors’ doctor] originally, I said you know this is probably from work because I just started working in the poultry department like five days ago and I mean it’s kind of a coincidence, you know, that I’m getting a bacterial infection that’s common with chickens and he said, “Well if it is work related then you can come back and we’ll fill out a report to be reimbursed.”

Human Resources Director: You know, I don’t mean to be mean, cruel, heartless and inhuman. My husband doesn’t work here, my two sons don’t work here, and all three have bloody stools and everything within the last month or so. [Laughs]

PETA Investigator: From what?

Human Resources Director: You know, it’s just a bacteria thing that’s going through. And that’s the God’s honest truth. Um, had you thought, I mean it is sort of frightening, I have people catch colds and say they caught cold because of work. There is a really big grey area here. So you went to [the Agriprocessors’ doctor] …

PETA Investigator: I gave the, I showed the nurse you know that it was campylobacter which is very, very common in chickens. I mean it doesn’t take an educated person to realize that after working with…

Human Resources Director: I wonder why, I mean I have how many people working over there and they don’t get it.

PETA Investigator: Well I’m sure, well actually the nurse said that someone has gotten it before, they came in with the same symptoms, he had to go to the hospital emergency room eventually, the same exact thing as me. It was a migrant worker, a Mexican guy I guess,

Human Resources Director: So basically you’re asking if I’m going to cover that under work comp?

PETA Investigator: Yeah, well whatever it is, I have health insurance, I just assumed that would…

Human Resources Director: I have a hard time saying that I could, though.

[The PETA investigator says the company never reimbursed his medical bills.]



Filed under Jewish Leadership, Kosher Business?, Kosher Meat Scandal

10 responses to “Orthodox Judaism In Action

  1. C-Girl

    Looks as though the Forward isn’t going to leave Agriprocessors alone any time soon. I hope they take it all the way.

    And so much for Consumer Reports’ claim of no campylobacter in any Aaron’s samples…

  2. nachos

    Mr. Rubashkin:

    Do you really think G-d is blind? You will have much to answer for

  3. nachos

    Mr. Rubashkin:

    Do you really think G-d is blind? You will have much to answer for

  4. hashfanatic

    If there was ever a G_d-given reason for people to examine what they’re stuffing into their own and their childrens’ stomachs, this is it.

    Join me in investigating natural, organic (or at least safer) alternatives to meat and meat by-products, do our selves good and turn our backs on ALL of these thieves, at once!

    (I must say, it is not as hard as I thought it would be!)

  5. Neo-Conservaguy

    We still eat some kosher meat, but we eat far more of the “fake meat” products because we can have them with dairy. We eat guilt-free Mexican tacos with cheese and sour cream because we use “soy crumbles” as the meat; chicken patties with cheese are a favorite in our house as well, all thanks to the soy/TVP products widely available these days.

  6. AYY

    Wondering if we’re getting the whole story here. Normally companies are covered by workmen’s comp insurance. The insurance company decides whether to pay, not the human resources director. The mechanism is different in different states, but if the investigator’s dr came up with a diagnosis and put put responsiblity on the plant, then in most states insurance co. would either have to pay or find a dr. who comes to a different conclusion. At that point they can go to an administrative law judge (who’s probably had dozens of cases involving the plant) and he decides. Point is that human resources director should have little or no input into whether they actually pay.

    So I’m wondering if this is the whole story.

  7. Shmuel

    Look, these are illegal aliens. When they’re told something by the HR director, that’s it. They don’t appeal it: they’d lose their jobs and they fear they’d face deportation. They’re not going to any administrative law judge like you and I would.

  8. AYY

    Shmuel, I could see if it the the undercover investigator was an alien. He didn’t say he was an illegal alien. He said the guy who had it before was a migrant. This guy said he had health insurance, so if he did you have to wonder why the health insurance co. didn’t take it to the workmen’s comp carrier., or why the medical treatment provider didn’t.

  9. C-Girl

    I used to work in a medical office, and as I recall, workman’s comp covers injuries or illnesses that arise directly from work-related activities. Private insurance companies will ask if any claim is work-related before they will consider it, and may not be required to cover these types of expenses.

    When a claim is made to the worker’s employer (usually through the HR dept), the company is required to notify the state’s workman’s comp office, which determines if an expense is payable. A worker may appeal if denied coverage. In order to begin this process, the request must be filed, in the first place. You wouldn’t believe how many companies try to short-circuit things at this initial step, especially if they are confident that the employee doesn’t have the wherewithall to sue.

    The company is allowed to require that the employee report to a doctor of the company’s choosing. You can probably imagine how this is wide open for abuse. Legally, an employee can get a second opinion or receive emergency care.

    If a claim is filed and approved for payment, the worker loses his/her right to sue the employer for reasons related to the injury.

    If a company has a high rate of workman’s comp usage, their insurance rates will go up. Some companies self-insure. Good luck getting money out of those.

    Even if an employee has their own insurance, they may have hefty deductibles or copays. This likelihood increases if they have a no-frills policy rather than full coverage, which can run into the thousands of $$ per month for a family, especially one that’s not covered by a group policy.

    By the way, many medical offices (including the one I worked for) will provide services to workman’s comp cases, knowing full well that they may never see a cent in reimbursement from the company or it’s insurer. Sadly, we’d ultimately have no choice but to bill the patient.

    Hope this helps.

  10. OneTopJob6

    There’s your pikuach nafesh fer ya.

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