LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) — The Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced Global Horizons Inc., a farm labor
contractor, will pay $7,658,500 to resolve an alleged pattern of subjecting
Thai farm workers in Washington to a hostile work environment, harassment and discrimination.
"The EEOC continues its mission of vindicating the rights
of the most vulnerable workers who are directly targeted for exploitation based
on stereotypes about their race and national origin that they won't dare
complain," said Anna Park, regional attorney for EEOC's Los Angeles District. "The court's findings in this case will empower workers who think
they have no voice."
The federal judge on the case ordered punitive damages based
on allegations Global’s conduct was malicious with reckless disregard for
these farm workers rights. Allegations include confiscating passports leading to
workers being detained by police and pushing workers to work faster by hitting
them on the head with a cane.
"Unchecked discrimination, harassment and retaliation
can lead to severe workplace abuses that violate federal law,” said Rosa M. Viramontes,
district director for EEOC's Los Angeles District. “The court's decision
sends a strong signal to the agricultural industry that our workers' basic
civil and human rights must be protected."