Lawsuits claim migrant Kentucky tobacco workers mistreated
Lawsuits filed against five Kentucky tobacco farms claim they exploited migrant workers by paying substandard wages, providing squalid housing and threatening some with jail or deportation if they complained.
The Courier-Journal reports (http://cjky.it/1Gcss9I) Nashville-based Southern Migrant Legal Services filed three federal lawsuits Thursday against farms in Scott, Monroe and Nicholas counties.
The suits claim the workers came from Mexico as part of the federal H-2A visa program that allows farmers to hire foreign workers when they can’t find Americans to fill a job.
Caitlin Berberich is one of the lawyers representing the workers. She said many employers see the visa program as a way to get workers they can underpay and who are unlikely to complain.
The newspaper could not reach anyone at the farms for comment on Friday.