By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER
HONOLULU (AP) - The federal judge in Hawaii who threatened to deny $2.4 million in settlements for Thai farm workers has signed the agreements.
U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi on Wednesday approved settlements with four Hawaii farms over allegations they exploited workers. Her approval comes after she ordered the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to hold a news conference last week clarifying that the four settlements were still subject to her approval.
She says the commission gave the misleading impression that the settlement proposals were finalized when the commission announced them in June. She says the commission should have waited until the agreements received court approval.
EEOC Regional Attorney Anna Park says she's pleased the agreements have been approved so that they can begin distributing money to the workers.