According to the Associated Press, four Hawaii farms that contracted with the California-based labor provider Global Horizons have settled a $2.4 million lawsuit over allegations of discrimination, uninhabitable housing, insufficient food, inadequate wages and deportation threats.
The news source reported that Mac Farms of Hawaii will pay $1.6 million, Kelena Farms will pay $275,000, Captain Cook Coffee Co. will pay $100,000 and Kauai Coffee Co. will pay $425,000. Additionally, a judge found that Global Horizons was liable for the discrimination and abuse of the workers, but the company has yet to settle its case, which is scheduled to go to trial in November.
According to reports, all of the settlement funds will go directly to the workers involved in the cases. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will reportedly determine a distribution process that will investigate who worked on the various farms and the severity of the abuse the workers suffered.
One worker claimed that he was recruited in Thailand to do work on the farms with the promise of earning enough money to support his family. Instead, his passport was allegedly taken away, and he was forced to sleep on the floor and was only fed bananas. Additionally, he claimed that 26 workers shared a bug-infested house that only had one bathroom.
According to the complaints, the contractor sought out Thai nationals, who are stereotyped as being docile and compliant.
The AP interviewed Mordechai Orian, president and chief strategic officer of the now-defunct Global Horizons, who said that the company would continue to file motions to dismiss the case, calling it “baseless.”
What Should I Do If I Suffer Racial Discrimination at Work?
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes discrimination based on race illegal, as do many state laws.
As this case shows, victims of racial discrimination have remedies against their employers or harassing parties, depending on the facts and circumstances of the behavior, and the availability of proof of the discriminatory actions.
Normally, before you can file a suit based upon racial discrimination, you must first file a complaint about the conduct with the EEOC, who can prosecute your discrimination on your behalf.
If the agency does not take up your case, our California employment attorneys can help you figure out your next step. Schedule a consultation with our Los Angeles discrimination attorneys today to discuss your case, or share your story with us on our Facebook page.
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob– Los Angeles employment attorneys
Did You Know? Racial discrimination can include employees of a particular ethnic group being assigned exclusively to a particular establishment.