Beverly Hills-based Global Horizons, Inc., awaits a trial to determine damages that will go to Thai workers who toiled at Hawaiian plantations.
A federal judge sided with the EEOC in finding the company discriminated against the farm workers, who were employed under the H-2A visa program.
Global Horizons supplied labor for six different plantations owned by Del Monte, Captain Cook Coffee Co., Kauai Coffee Co., Kelena Farms, Mac Farms of Hawaii and the Maui Pineapple Company.
According to trial testimony, Thai workers were required to work longer hours in less desirable assignments for less money than workers from other countries.
The court cited “barbaric” employment practices, finding that plantation operators denied breaks to Thai workers and housed them in substandard conditions.
The workers were often slapped, punched or otherwise humiliated. The plantations kept them under surveillance while threatening to shoot, deport or arrest workers who stepped out of line.
Del Monte settled its suit with the EEOC for $1.2 million and a pledge to implement policies preventing future violations.
Four other farms have agreed to settle EEOC complaints and are negotiating settlement terms. Only Maui Pineapple is still attempting to resolve the EEOC dispute.