Southern Valley Fruit and Vegetables Inc., a subsidiary of Hamilton Growers Inc. operating in Georgia, agreed to settle a discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Coalition (EEOC), according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The EEOC filed the lawsuit on behalf of former employees who claimed they were discriminated against based on their ethnicity. The lawsuit was filed in September 2011, and Hamilton Growers Inc. settled for $500,000.
The employees allege that Southern Valley Fruit and Vegetables, Inc. terminated the majority of its African-American seasonal workers while keeping most of the Mexican workers between 2009 and 2011. They also claim that black employees had their hours cut and were assigned to jobs that generally paid less, forcing them to look for new work. Critics claim that the company was exploiting the H-2A guest worker visa program which allowed them to hire “temporary” foreign workers.
“We hope this case will bring attention to that problem and we will see Hamilton Growers demonstrate to its neighbors that offering job opportunities to American workers in not only legally required, but also the right thing to do for communities and local economies,” said Leah Lotto of Georgia Legal Services.
For more information on workplace discrimination please visit our website.
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob—Los Angeles discrimination attorneys