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Judge rules on Thai workers’ reparation

A federal judge says a California-based labour contracting company and a Maui pineapple farm are responsible for paying $8.7 million in a discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of 82 Thai workers who were brought to Hawaii as farm laborers. U.S. District Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi had previously found that Global Horizons Inc. and Maui Pineapple Co. engaged in a pattern or practice of harassment, discriminatory conduct and retaliation against the workers...Based on statements from the workers and witnesses, and admissions by Global Horizons and Maui Pineapple, Kobayashi found that the Thai workers were paid less, forced to work harder and placed under tighter restrictions than Filipino and Micronesian workers. She also found that the Thai workers, unlike their Filipino and Micronesian counter- parts, were forced to endure substandard living conditions including food shortages, overcrowding and inadequate sanitation. She said Thai workers who complained were threatened with violence and deportation...