HONOLULU (AP) — A federal judge has found a California-based labor contractor liable for discrimination and abuse of hundreds of Thai workers at Hawaii farms.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Monday announced the ruling against Global Horizons, which placed the workers at six farms across the state.
U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi's ruling said Global Horizons officials inflicted various forms of abuse on Thai workers at a Maui farm, including slapping a worker in the head and throwing a worker against a wall. Other abuse cited in the ruling included workers being threatened with a gun and deportation.
The Honolulu judge's decision came in a lawsuit filed by the EEOC in 2011. The suit against Global Horizons and six Hawaii farms also alleged farm workers were subjected to uninhabitable housing, insufficient food and inadequate wages.
The ruling said the company recruited Thai workers because it thought they would be easier to exploit: "In addition, the EEOC has presented evidence that Global Horizons specifically chose Thai workers based on a stereotype that Thai workers would be more compliant and less likely to escape or cause other problems."
Mordechai Orian, president of the now-defunct company, referred questions to his attorneys, who did not immediately provide comment to The Associated Press. Orian said he hadn't yet read the ruling, which was filed last week.
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