The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will settle a lawsuit it filed against Los Angeles, California-based labor provider Global Horizons Inc. for policies and/or actions involving discriminating against 100 Thai farm workers in the US. The suit also names 8 others US-based farming operations, of which only 1 is included in the new settlement.
The original suit was filed in Hawaii and Washington state citing “Human Trafficking” charges. The EEOC asserts that between 2003 and 2007 Global Horizons Inc. “enticed Thai male nationals into working at the farms with the false promises of steady, high-paying agricultural jobs along with temporary visas allowing them to live and work in the U.S. legally. The opportunity came at a price: high recruitment fees creating an insurmountable debt for the Thai workers. When they reached the U.S., Global Horizons confiscated the workers’ passports and threatened deportation if they complained, which set the tone for the abuses to come,” the suit explains.
Abuses did not stop at confiscation of passports of charging workers recruitment fees, but included forced living in rat-infested, over-crowded rooms with no beds and forbidding the workers from leaving their assigned locations.
Discrimination and labor-based human trafficking law-breaking is not an uncommon occurrence only with labor or staffing companies. In 2011, the EEOC also filed suit against Birmingham, Alabama-based Signal International LLC in which it is alleged that Signal International LLC discriminated against 500 Indian Nationals who were “trafficked to work as welders, pipefitters…in Mississippi and Texas.”