Migrant farmworker Victor Marquez was traveling to his hometown in Querétero, Mexico, to pay for his new home, only to have his life savings seized by police who alleged it was drug money. During the May 5, 2008, traffic stop in Loxley, Ala., a police officer confiscated more than $19,000 from Marquez even though he earned a majority of the money by working the bean harvest in south Florida. Marquez was not charged. The Southern Poverty Law Center won the return of the money after the state refused to provide documents and information requested by SPLC lawyers representing Marquez.
Immigrant workers hired to repair storm-damaged apartments in New Orleans were routinely cheated out of wages and endured forced labor while living in crowded and dilapidated employer-provided housing. This federal lawsuit brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center, together with the Pro Bono Project and the National Employment Law Project, alleges the employers violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Victims of Trafficking Protection Act.
Hundreds of guest workers from India, lured by false promises of permanent U.S. residency, paid tens of thousands of dollars each to obtain temporary jobs at Gulf Coast shipyards only to find themselves forced into involuntary servitude and living in overcrowded, guarded labor camps. The SPLC filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the workers, David v. Signal International, LLC. Three years later, a lawsuit was filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, EEOC v. Signal International, LLC,alleging Signal unlawfully discriminated against the Indian guest workers.
A federal judge has held Candy Brand and its individual owners accountable for routinely cheating migrant farmworkers out of wages. The court also held that the company’s failure to pay overtime wages and reimburse workers’ expenses was a breach of Candy Brand’s contract with each worker it exploited. As a result, the company and owners will be required to satisfy any judgment, which could be over $2 million dollars.
Federal immigration agents conducted illegal searches and relied on racial and ethnic profiling while carrying out a massive series of raids, according to this federal lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Migrant farmworkers in south Georgia claimed they were grossly underpaid while working for subsidiaries of the food giant Del Monte Fresh Produce. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a lawsuit to recover the wages. A confidential settlement agreement was reached in the case. The defendants did not admit liability.
After the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal complaint alleging dangerous work conditions at Gold Kist’s poultry processing facility in Russellville, Ala., the company reached a settlement agreement with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to pay more than $80,000 in fines. The agreement also outlined steps the company would take to ensure employee safety.
LVI used a subcontractor system to avoid paying workers the wages owed to them. One of the large subcontractors used by LVI, defendant D&L, Environmental, Inc., failed to pay many of its migrant workers anything for much of their labor.