Workers’ lawsuit says hotel owners enslaved them — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Workers’ lawsuit says hotel owners enslaved them

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Four Filipino immigrants have filed a federal lawsuit accusing a pair of Oacoma, S.D., hotel owners of subjecting them to conditions of slavery, forced labor, trafficking in persons and peonage—essentially indentured servitude.

Robert and Angelita Farrell, owners of the Oacoma Comfort Inn and Suites, were convicted in November 2007 of 18 charges of conspiracy, peonage and fraud. They received jail sentences.

The workers allege the Farrells promised them work at the Comfort Inn for 40 hours per week at a lawful wage. But they say the couple then confiscated their visas and changed the deal to $3 for each room the workers cleaned. The lawsuit claims the Farrells required them to work 60 hours per week without overtime and forced them to sign debt contracts. The workers took on second jobs to try to pay off their inflating debt contracts, they said.

The suit also names hotel franchiser Choice Hotels International as a defendant.

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