Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Global Horizons and two California farms ordered to pay $2 million to farm workers
by Larry Geller
A federal appeals court awarded nearly $2 million on Wednesday to more than 600 Latino farm workers who accused a farm labor contractor and two Washington state growers of violating federal labor laws.
The Yakima Valley farm workers claimed that Valley Fruit Orchards and Green Acre Farms illegally and intentionally displaced them by hiring Los Angeles-based Global Horizons to bring in foreign workers in 2004.
[AP, Court: Farm workers entitled to nearly $2 million, 8/17/2011]
Global Horizons also faces charges brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in what the EEOC described as their largest human trafficking case in history. The EEOC is seeking back pay and compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of over 200 Thai nationals allegedly trafficked to farms in Hawaii and Washington State. The EEOC suit also charges retaliation and national origin and race discrimination.
Global Horizon’s CEO, Mordechai Orian and other defendants face charges in a separate human trafficking case. One defendant who pled guilty is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court this month, and Orion’s trial is set for February, 2012.
Whether the California farm workers or anyone else will be able to collect from Global remains to be seen. From the AP article:
An attorney for Global Horizons, Michael Green, said he didn't really have a comment on the ruling but that his clients don't have any money right now anyway.
"My clients are now eating at fast-food restaurants and they aren't getting the large fries," he said.