Stanley Farms To Pay Over 90,000 Dollar Settlement to Farmworkers
ATLANTA, GA – Stanley Farms LLC, a Vidalia onion producer, has agreed to pay over $90,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a group of farmworkers over wages and working conditions.
A judge on Monday approved the agreement. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution states that Stanley Farms agreed to pay $92,500, with $82,500 going to back wages and damages and $10,000 going to attorney’s fees and costs. The company also agreed to follow specific hiring and employment practices that were outlined in the agreement.
“We’re pleased with the resolution reached, and we’re pleased that the farm is agreeing to pay U.S. and foreign workers the same amount, which we don’t believe they were doing,” said Dawson Morton, a lawyer for the workers. “That should reduce the exclusion of U.S. workers from Vidalia onion work and we hope assure equal treatment and equal pay.”
The American workers and their former co-workers filed a lawsuit last year that claimed that American farmworkers were paid less than the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour while foreign guest workers were paid between $9.11 and $9.38 an hour.
As part of the settlement, Stanley Farms also agreed to only use transportation that is properly inspected and insured and has a seat for each passenger, not allow workers into fields until 24 hours after the application of certain chemicals, and provide proper tools, according to the Greenfield Reporter.
Stanley Farms does not admit to the allegations in the lawsuit. “We still dispute that we are liable,” the farm's attorney Larry Stine said, “but it would cost us more to go to trial than to settle the case.”
Stanley Farms currently grows more than 1000 acres of onions as well as numerous acres of other crops and vegetables including over 100 acres of Certified Organic Vidalia Onions.