Del Monte Fresh Produce settled a $1.2 million lawsuit this month in relation to the harassment and discrimination against immigrant workers on their pineapple farms in Hawaii. Del Monte and several labor contractors were sued in 2011 by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for discriminating against Thai workers from 2003 to 2006. This month, Del Monte agreed to pay out $1.2 million to be distributed among the mistreated immigrants.
In addition to the payout, Del Monte has also agreed to promote fair treatment of farm laborers throughout the U.S. and to instruct their contractors to follow U.S. employment laws as well as inform immigrant workers about their legal rights.
The lawsuit alleged that Del Monte contractor Global Horizons exploited Thai immigrant workers by forcing them to pay extreme fees in order to receive farming jobs in the U.S. and then harassing them once they had arrived. It also claimed that workers were paid insufficient wages and given uninhabitable housing with little to no food and substandard kitchen facilities. Workers were allegedly threatened with deportation or physical violence if they complained. The regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles office called the Del Monte settlement a “wake-up call for others in the agricultural industry.”
Discriminating against an employee based on their national origin is illegal in California. If a worker is being mistreated because they come from a certain place, because of their ethnicity or accent, or because that employee has a particular ethnic background, it is considered national origin discrimination.
Do I Need a Discrimination Attorney?
Title VII and several other antidiscrimination laws protect workers employed in the U.S., regardless of their citizenship. If you are a victim of discrimination, our Los Angeles employment attorneys can help you. We will inform you of your rights and work to get the compensation you deserve. Schedule a free consultation with our lawyers today or connect with us on our Facebook page to tell your story.
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob– Los Angeles employment attorneys