Received half of the $ 8.1 million settlement in the Hawaii Thai Workers case
Thai workers will receive compensation in EEOC lawsuit.
The Justice and Finance departments of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have 4.8 million pineapple plantations. Global Horizons, a contractor, and six farms in Hawaii were sued.
In 2011, the EEOC first filed a Title VII lawsuit in the US District Court in the District of Hawaii against Maui Pineapple, Ltd., Global Horizons, Inc. and other defendants (EEOC v Global Horizons, Inc., et al., Case No. 1: 11-cv-00257-LEK-RLP). In 2015, the district court issued a default judgment against Maui Pineapple and Global Horizons.
Five farms settled a total of $ 3.6 million, and in 2015 a U.S. court in Honolulu, Hawaii found Maui Pineapple Co. (which has since changed its name to Maui Land and Pineapple Co), the remaining farm that not settled jointly with Global Horizons for $ 8.1 million. The lawsuit alleged that “workers faced discrimination, uninhabitable housing, inadequate food, inadequate wages and threats of deportation.”
Photo by Tiger Lily on Pexels
The federal agency will distribute the money to the workers. Anna Park, the Commission’s regional attorney, said: “The agencies will continue to collect funds owed to workers until the full judgment is passed.” She added, “This is not the end. This is the beginning. This was just a nice big chunk that came and gave the plaintiffs some relief. You have waited a long time for this. “
Mordechai Orian, former president of Global Horizon, said the company closed in 2007 and called the court’s verdict “absurd” and “insane”. Orian said, “You had a nice apartment. No complaints. What discrimination can (there) be against people who you bring to Hawaii from Thailand and who enable them (a) better life? “
However, US District Court judge Leslie Kobayashi, who was nominated to the court by President Barack Obama, ruled that Global Horizon executives “physically abused” some of the workers. Specific cases were listed in court documents.
“A manager told workers that anyone who ran away would be shot, deported or arrested,” the judge said, adding in her verdict, “Global Horizons selected Thai workers based on the stereotype that Thai workers were more forgiving and less likely would flee or cause other problems. “
Kobayashi also found that in Maui Pineapple, “a tall metal fence with three layers of wire surrounded the workers’ apartments and 10 security guards patrolled the area 24 hours a day, making the workers feel like prisoners. Maui Pineapple’s enclosure was infested with rats and bugs, and there was a lack of hot water to bathe. ”And she said,“ The workers were also under-fed. A typical meal consisted of rice, a slice of pineapple, two hard-boiled eggs or a few pieces of bacon. “
Some of the workers eventually moved back to Thailand, while others left Hawaii and settled elsewhere in the US. “Getting to this point where we can actually seek judgment is very important to us and our mission to defend the rights of the most vulnerable.”
Former Maui Pineapple workers earn $ 4.8 million after abuse case
EEOC collects over $ 4.8 million in labor trafficking ruling on Maui pineapples for Thai farm workers