Migrant Kentucky Tobacco Workers File Lawsuit

Jun 1, 2015

Credit Cassidy Herrington

More than three dozen immigrant workers are suing the farmers who hired them through a government program for seasonal work.  The group claims unfair pay and squalid living conditions. 

Three lawsuits have been filed by 39-Mexican guest workers who allege numerous abuses while they were working for a handful of Kentucky farmers through the H-2A program.  That program allows farmers to hire foreign workers when they can’t find Americans to fill a job. 

The suit claims workers were paid far less than they were guaranteed and that they were forced to live in housing that was infested with rats and didn’t have working plumbing and were charged illegal fees.  It also alleges that some workers were told they would be arrested or deported if they complained.  The lawsuits filed last week by Southern Migrant Legal Services names five tobacco farms and seeks back wages and other damages.