The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has recovered $4.8 million to satisfy a judgment in a national origin and race discrimination lawsuit brought by the EEOC against Maui Pineapple.
The EEOC brought the case to combat labor trafficking as a civil rights violation under Title VII.
The EEOC initially filed a Title VII lawsuit in 2011 in U.S District Court in the District of Hawaii against Maui Pineapple Ltd., Global Horizons Inc., and other defendants (EEOC v. Global Horizons, Inc., et al.).
In 2015, the district court entered a default judgment against Maui Pineapple and Global Horizons, a labor contractor, after finding them liable for national origin and race discrimination, awarding over $8.1 million to 54 Thai employees who worked at Maui Pineapple.
After working in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Treasury Department to recover $4.8 million to satisfy part of the judgment, the EEOC will now be distributing the money to the workers. The EEOC plans to continue efforts to collect on the rest of the judgment.
According to the judgment, some of the Thai workers were subjected to physical violence such as being slapped on the head, thrown against the wall, grabbed and punched in the face. The workers were also reportedly subjected to threats of deportation and arrests, and forced to live in substandard housing. The workers also reportedly received inadequate food, and some fainted in the fields.
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