Chicago, IL: Today, the law firm of Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym (HSPRD) scored a major victory for more than 100 migrant workers, against Great Lakes Kraut, the largest sauerkraut producer in the world. HSPRD’ s clients in this case, migrant agricultural workers from the state of Guanajato in Mexico, are among the most exploited groups in the American labor force. Federal and state law offers workers in their vulnerable position some protections. But too often those laws are under-enforced. HSPRD has made it significant part of its practice to step into that breach. And today, a federal court in Wisconsin called a major employer to task for violating the law, agreeing that Great Lakes Kraut’s employment of Mexican workers, has, for years, violated federal wage-and-hour and agricultural-worker-protection laws, as well as Wisconsin’s migrant labor law.
The Court ruled that the company’s violations have included under-paying wages, taking unauthorized deductions from workers’ paychecks, hiring workers for a full season but then terminating their employment after just a few weeks, and failing to provide the workers with required information when job offers are made and accepted. Joshua Karsh, one of the HSPRD lawyers representing the workers, along with the Washington D.C.-based organization Farmworker Justice, commented that “Access to justice is critical. And too much of the time, migrant workers don’t have it. We and others are trying to change that.”
The Court further held that the company’s violations were “intentional” and that the company’s owner and president was “personally liable” for the violations, jointly and severally with the company. Under the Court’s ruling, the company could be liable for damages of more than a million dollars—or even multiples of that. Damages will be resolved at the next stage of the case.
Please contact Josh Karsh at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 312.604.2630 for more information.
Check out the various media coverage about the ruling below: