Global Horizons, a California-based labor contractor, was found liable by a federal court for the abuse and discrimination of hundreds of migrant Thai workers on six farms in Hawaii. Allegations against Global Horizons included physical abuse against workers, as well as mental abuse, such as threatening workers with deportation and violence.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit against Global Horizons in 2011. The lawsuit alleged that workers on six Hawaiian farms were given uninhabitable housing, not enough food, and sub-standard pay. United States District Judge Leslie Kobayashi agreed. The ruling stated that Global Horizons specifically recruited Thai workers because the company expected they could be exploited easily, based solely on stereotypes.
A trial to determine the amount of damages Global Horizons will have to pay has been set for November. In the mean time, the company will be required to implement anti-discrimination and anti-abuse practices.
One of the six farms in the lawsuit has already settled allegations with the EEOC for $1.2 million. Four other farms are finalizing settlements. A case against the remaining farm is still under way. Cases against Global Horizons and two of the farms are also underway in Washington state.