From AJC.com, Jeremy Redmon, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 28 Oct 2011.
The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing a large South Georgia vegetable farm in federal court, alleging it discriminated against U.S. workers and fired them in favor of Mexican guest workers.
Hamilton Growers/Southern Valley Fruit and Vegetable Inc. also fired black American workers because of their race and national origin, the EEOC says in the complaint it filed last month.
The EEOC filed suit after releasing a decision in July that says the Norman Park-based farm engaged in a “pattern or practice of regularly denying work hours and assigning less favorable” work to U.S. workers in favor of foreigners participating in the federal H-2A guest worker program.
Hamilton has denied the allegations and accused the U.S. workers of violating attendance rules, loitering and failing to keep up with the work, EEOC records show. Hamilton also said all its workers are guaranteed the same wages, but some earn more because they work faster.
“Hamilton Growers is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate on the basis of any protected characteristic, including citizenship status, race or national origin,” Terri Stewart, an attorney for Hamilton, said in a prepared statement.