Toppenish packing plant pays $50,000 in back wages

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SEATTLE (AP) -- The Labor Department says Washington Beef has agreed to pay $50,000 in back wages to a former employee who was fired for taking medical leave from the packing plant at Toppenish.

Investigators found the worker was unlawfully terminated in violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act.

The employee worked on the killing floor, handling beef hearts and livers during processing.

Washington Beef is a subsidiary of Boise-based Agri Beef Co. President Brad McDowell said in a statement he's pleased the issue is resolved, although disappointed with the outcome.

Washington Beef employs nearly 900 people in the Yakima Valley.