In a victory for Nevada onion farm workers, a federal judge ruled in December 2015 that the settlement of $2.8 million achieved by Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym Ltd. and Thierman Buck LLP was a fair payment for the workers’ lawsuit, filed in February 2011.
The original suit claimed Peri & Sons did not always pay workers the hourly rate that was required by the U.S. Department of Labor. It also alleged some workers had to pay a “recruitment fee” between $100 and $500 and were not reimbursed for costs associated with obtaining visas. The workers said they had to pay the costs for the visa application, cover their own food and housing while the visa was processed and then pay a border crossing fee.
Christopher J. Wilmes, one of the attorneys representing the workers, said he thought the settlement was a great outcome, especially considering the case had to be revived by an appeals court after it was dismissed in 2011.
“It’s also a great victory for farmworkers throughout the country because it confirms that employers may not place the burden of travel and immigration expenses on the backs of their low-wage workers,” he said.
The workers are represented by Mark R. Thierman of Thierman Buck, LLP, Matthew J. Piers, José Jorge Behar, Christopher J. Wilmes and Caryn C. Lederer of Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym Ltd.