Global Horizons found liable for exploiting Thai farm workers

Published On: Mar 24 2014 05:41:39 PM HST   Updated On: Mar 24 2014 10:55:09 PM HST

They came from Thailand on a promise of good paying jobs.

But they instead claimed they were mistreated, and underpaid.

Click here for Catherine Cruz's report.

And it happened on farms run by well-known companies like Del Monte, and Maui Pineapple.

"It was pretty bad. A lot of these things happened at Maui Pineapple. They were hit. They were threatened. They were deprived of basic necessities. It is very important we stand up and say, this is not acceptable," said Anna Park, attorney for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

A ruling by federal judge Leslie Kobayashi allows the workers to pursue damages from Global Horizons, a Beverly Hills recruiting company.

The decision, Park says vindicates the workers who suffered discrimination, fraud and who lived in fear of deportation.

Local immigration attorney Clare Hanusz is still in contact with some of the workers.  She's glad for some restitution, even though in some cases, it’s taken a decade of waiting.

She said many gave up hope after a criminal case against another Oahu business, Aloun Farms didn’t hold up.

"There remains a lot of heartache because of what has happened. I am just grateful for the EEOC for continuing on this case. I think it is really important for the employers to see," Hanusz said.

“This is probably one of the worst case scenarios where you have abuses by a recruiter, so this is just a word of caution for any employers," said Park.

The EEOC has already settled with Del Monte for

$ 1.2 million dollars and is in the process of finalizing settlement details with Mac Farms of Hawaii, Kauai Coffee Company, Captain Cook Coffee Company, and Kelena Farms.

The case against Maui Pineapple Company is still on going.

 A jury trial to set damages against Global Horizon is set for Nov. 18th.

The company could not be reached for comment.




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