A settlement was recently reached between Crop Production Services Inc. and a group of U.S. citizens. The lawsuit itself was filed by the “U.S. Justice Department for discrimination against U.S. citizens in favor of foreign visa workers.” As part of the settlement, the Loveland-based company “agreed to pay a penalty and back wages” to the affected U.S. workers.
A settlement was recently reached between Crop Production Services Inc. and a group of U.S. citizens. The lawsuit itself was filed by the “U.S. Justice Department for discrimination against U.S. citizens in favor of foreign visa workers.” As part of the settlement, the Loveland-based company “agreed to pay a penalty and back wages” to the affected U.S. workers. But how much will the company fork over, exactly? What kind of discrimination did the U.S. workers face?
For starters, according to the lawsuit, Crop production allegedly “discriminated against at least three U.S. citizens by refusing to employ them as seasonal technicians at its El Campo, Texas, location because the company preferred to employ temporary foreign workers under the H-2A visa program.” The complaint went on to accuse Crop Production of imposing “more-burdensome requirements on U.S. citizens than it did on H-2A visa workers to discourage U.S. citizens from working at the facility.” On top of that, the lawsuit also alleged that even though “U.S. citizens had to complete a background check and a drug test before being permitted to start work, H-2A visa workers were allowed to begin working without completing them and, in some cases, never completed them at all.”
As if those accusations weren’t enough, the Justice Department also claimed Crop Production “refused to consider a limited-English proficient U.S. citizen for employment yet hired H-2A visa workers with limited-English proficiency.” It should be noted, also, that all 15 of the company’s “available seasonal technician jobs in 2016 went to H-2A visa workers instead of U.S. workers.”
So what exactly were the charges detailed out in the lawsuit? Well, for those who don’t know, it’s actually against the law for “employers to intentionally discriminate against U.S. workers because of their citizenship status or to otherwise favor the employment of temporary foreign visa workers over available, qualified U.S. workers,” according to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Additionally, the H-2A visa program was originally designed to allow “employers to hire foreign visa workers only if there is not a sufficient number of qualified and available U.S. workers to fill the jobs.”
Fortunately for the U.S. workers included in the complaint, a settlement was reached that will require Crop Production to “pay civil penalties of $10,500 to the United States, undergo department-provided training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, and comply with departmental monitoring and reporting requirements,” according to the Justice Department. The workers are also set to receive “$18,738.75 in lost wages” from a separate agreement.