At all times material hereto, Sholom M. Rubashkin did not possess direct or unilateral authority at Agriprocessors to â€œfireâ€ any employee who was the subject of a no-match letter. He did not have the unilateral authority to close the plant. He did not â€œcontrolâ€ the hiring of employees.
Elizabeth Billmeyer was Agriprocessorsâ€™ Human Resources director. At all times material, she reported directly to Heshy Rubashkin. Production constantly demanded that she hire new employees, to cover expansion and turnover, although she knew that Sholom wanted to reduce staff.
Billmeyer was responsible for ensuring that Agriprocessors was in compliance with hiring rules and regulations. Sholom was not trained to examine immigration or social security documentation to determine their legitimacy. Sholom understood that Billmeyer had been trained to detect flaws in the foregoing documentation. Agriprocessors also employed numerous other persons in its Human Resources Department to ensure the companyâ€™s practices were administered appropriately, namely Laura Althouse, Karina Fruend, Shawn Meyer and Penny Hanson.
Agriprocessors hired new employees through â€œbottom upâ€ activity. Latin American immigrants apparently provided Agriprocessors with hundreds of false identification cards. Upon acquiring a job, many employees then would help family members and friends to get jobs at Agriprocessors. Several U.S. citizens from Iowa who worked at Agriprocessors were married to illegal aliens who worked in the plant. Agriprocessors manager Nicole Miller was married to an illegal alien: she somehow infiltrated the â€œHRâ€ department and is presumed to have helped more illegal aliens find employment at Agriprocessors.
In December, 2003, a fire destroyed a turkey plant adjacent to Agriprocessors. Subsequently, Hispanic employment at Agriprocessors increased dramatically. When the Turkey Plant burned, Ron Wahls from the Postville School District and State Senator Mark Zieman came to Agriprocessors and begged them to take the out-of-work Hispanic Employees from the Iowa Turkey Plant. The Hispanics employeesâ€™ prior ITP employment strongly suggested that their papers were legitimate and authentic.
Between January and May of 2007, letters were sent to various employees to resolve their no-match problem. AGRI also consulted with its lawyers on the no-match situation. Sholom understood that Elizabeth Billmeyer was supposed to be doing the following: determine which of the listed employees was still working at AGRI; check AGRIâ€™s records for those workers still employed to determine if any error had been made; notify the employees that a no-match letter had been received; request that the employee advise AGRI whether their documentation information was correct; if the employee said the documentation was correct, then the employee needed to resolve the situation with the SSA; and if the employee said the information was not correct, then the employee had to provide correct information to AGRI. Billmeyer also had direct access to and contact with Agriprocessorsâ€™ attorneys for any of her questions.
Sholom believed this records analysis took a long time. In approximately May 2007, in an attempt to comply with yet proposed DHS â€œsafe-harborâ€ regulations, AGRI attached notices to paychecks of affected no-match letter employees requiring the employees to resolve the discrepancy with the SSA and report back to AGRI on or before July 19, 2007. Ron Wahls was listed as a community person who would help the affected employees.
On or about the first week of May, 2007, between 100-200 employees staged a walkout and/or assembled at AGRI to protest the letters. The walkout was engendered by the no-match letters issued by AGRI to the relevant employees and by misinformation spread by a Union â€œplant,â€ Virdania Nunez. The Union spread the rumor that Agriprocessors had reported the employees to the government so that they would be fired, lose their vacation pay, and be rehired only with new paperwork and at a loss of previous benefits.
These rumors were false and in reality, Sholom obtained a raise for employees and was working with Ron Wahls in Postville to provide no-match employees with legitimate consultation on their immigration problems.