Pineapple workers to receive $4.8M for abuse, horrible living conditions on Maui farm
HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Former pineapple workers will be receiving $4.8 million in compensation after experiencing discrimination and abuse while working on a Maui farm.
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission collected the money with the help of federal departments to settle a national origin and race discrimination lawsuit against Maui Pineapple, which closed in 2009.
The lawsuit was filed in 2011 and said the abuse happened between 2003 to 2007.
According to EEOC, Thai workers at Maui Pineapple faced physical violence, such as being slapped on the head, thrown against the wall, grabbed and punched in the face. The workers were also threatened with claims of deportation and arrests.
The judgment said workers were also forced to live in housing infested with rats, scorpions and bugs. Some were provided insufficient or malfunctioning toilet facilities.
Along with these horrible living conditions, the commission said workers did not receive adequate food, causing some to faint while working in the fields.
“Working conditions were so oppressive that some Thai workers felt that they were treated more like prisoners and slaves,” EEOC said.
In cooperation with the US Department of Justice and the Treasury Department, EEOC was able to recover $4.8 million to satisfy part of the judgment.
EEOC will now be distributing the money to the 54 Thai workers who were victims of abuse while working at Maui Pineapple.
The commission said it will continue its efforts to collect the rest of the judgment, which totals $8.1 million.
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