Farmworker Wage Lawsuit Results In $2.2 Million Settlement For H-2A Employees
A $2.2 million settlement has resulted from a lawsuit alleging farming companies around Yuma did not adequately pay migrant workers over multiple seasons.
The migrant employees, legally contracted through the federal H-2A program, worked for Foothill Packing. It harvests lettuce for Dole Vegetables and Taylor Farms.
The complaint was filed on behalf of 11 H-2A guest workers and alleges the companies didn’t pay for the time workers spent traveling or preparing for the harvest.
The workers lived around the border of Arizona and California. Attorney Amanda Caldwell with Arizona-based Community Legal Services represented the farmworkers. She said it’s a significant settlement.
“We don’t typically see these multimillion-dollar settlements in farmworker cases, but we also don’t always see cases that impact thousands of farmworkers," Caldwell said. “So, I guess in that respect it is really unique. But I think it is a good and fair settlement based on the allegations of the complaint.”
About half the money will go to the thousands of other workers who were contracted for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 harvest seasons.
The 11 named plaintiffs in the lawsuit also will receive compensation through the settlement.