Oklahoma Recovery Program Participants Sue Over Alleged Forced Labor

October 12, 2017

Participants in an Oklahoma-based substance recovery program allege they were required to work at a poultry processing plant without compensation under the threat of incarceration.

Three participants filed a federal class-action lawsuit against the northeastern Oklahoma recovery program, Christian Alcoholics & Addicts in Recovery, and Arkansas-based Simmons Foods.

The lawsuit alleges participants were led to believe CAAIR was a recovery program offered through Oklahoma drug courts. It alleges CAAIR and Simmons “conspired to profit from a vulnerable workforce” and failed to compensate participants for their work. It says the only payment received were “daily bologna sandwiches and a bunk-bed in a cramped dorm room.”

CAAIR CEO Janet Wilkerson had no immediate comment on the lawsuit. A spokesman for Simmons, Donny Epp, says the company will defend itself in court.

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