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California Dairy Workers File Class Action Suit

Two workers seek relief from dairy farm for exploitation of Mexican laborers.

A lawsuit was filed with the US District Court in Sacramento on Friday by the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation—on behalf of two undocumented workers, Hernan Guzman-Padilla and Cipriano Benites—against California dairy farm G&H Dairy. The suit alleges the plaintiff violated federal discrimination laws by “intentionally recruiting, hiring, and systematically underpaying solely Mexican immigrant laborers to staff their dairies, on the belief that they would quietly accept the aforementioned unlawful working conditions, wages, and housing.” The workers were subject to 10-hour work shifts for up to six days without a break, housed in filthy conditions, and called racial slurs. “[None of the] white employees of defendants are provided poor quality housing, refused repairs, or required to live with vermin, water leaks, mold, rotting flooring, non-functioning heating, or without bathroom and kitchen facilities,” the suit states. CRLAF is seeking class-action status to protect similarly situated Mexican laborers working at other factory farms in the US. This suit is not an isolated incident, as human rights violations are rampant within animal agriculture—evidenced by a similar suit filed last year against an Idaho dairy farm that lured skilled Mexican veterinarians to their facility to perform manual labor in substandard conditions for meager pay.

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