CAPE GIRARDEAU –– The U.S. Labor Department has targeted a freight company for allegedly subjecting agricultural workers to "inhumane" housing conditions in the southeastern part of Missouri.
Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta filed a lawsuit on July 26 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri against Florida-based Marin J. Corporation.
According to the complaint, labor department personnel conducted an investigation that found the company required some H-2A workers to live in overcrowded hotel rooms with four to six workers per room. Some workers lived in unsafe, deteriorating and unsanitary residences with less than 50 feet of space per worker. Other workers stayed in an "unsuitable and substandard former county jail," which did not have a operating kitchen and very little external light, the complaint states.
In addition, the agency claims Marin J. Corporation "deprived [workers] of consistent and adequate access to mobile sanitation units, handwashing stations and drinking water, resulting in dehydration, poor hygiene and exposure to potential adverse health consequences."
The U.S. Labor Department filed a lawsuit against a freight company over labor practices. freestocks.org via Pexels
Marin J. Corporation also allegedly failed to keep accurate records of the workers’ hours, earnings and deductions, according to the complaint.
"On information and belief, some or all of the H-2A workers have not received wages that equal or exceed the amount they are owed under the governing hourly rate because they were not paid the proper wage rate, or they simply have not been paid for all hours worked,” the suit states.
The suit seeks to recover wages due to the workers.