The Justice Department is investigating whether poultry companies have engaged in anticompetitive sharing about employment practices that held down plant workers’ wages, according to people familiar with the matter.
The civil probe by the Justice Department is examining actions at several poultry companies, the people said, and adds to the scrutiny that U.S. meat processors are facing from the government and their workers. The department has put at least some companies on legal notice that they must preserve documents, several of these people said.
Pilgrim’s Pride Corp.
the second-largest U.S. chicken company by sales volume, recently said in its annual securities filing that it was notified by the Justice Department in February that it had opened a civil antitrust investigation into human resources issues.
Colorado-based Pilgrim’s said in the filing that it planned to cooperate with the investigation. A company spokeswoman declined to comment further.
Popular stories from WSJ.com: