A lawsuit filed in 2014 by six Lithuanian migrant workers against United Kingdom chicken farm DJ Houghton Catching Services Limited was recently settled in the claimants favor for over $1.2 million. The farm’s proprietors Darrell Houghton and Jacqueline Judge trafficked the workers to their UK-based facility—an egg-laying hen supplier for brands such as McDonald’s, Tesco, and Sainsbury’s—to catch the animals and load them onto trucks headed for processing plants. The employees were forced to work eight-hour shifts back-to-back, paid below minimum wage, and denied sleep and bathroom breaks. In June, Justice Supperstone of the High Court issued a judgement in favor of the claimants to which their attorney Shana Martin responded, “It is an extremely important step towards proper compensation for our clients, and should be seen as a warning to British companies that they must eradicate all forms of modern slavery from their businesses.” A report released by human rights organization Oxfam America this year revealed that workers at poultry plants—for brands such as Tyson, Pilgrim’s Pride, and Perdue—are denied basic needs, including bathroom breaks.
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