The EEOC announced a large award in a case against a turkey processor which abused intellectually disabled workers for years.
According to the press release, The EEOC filed suit on behalf of a class of disabled workers who were being paid $65 per month for full time work and required to live in a “bunkhouse” later closed as unsafe, underheated, leaky and full of vermin. The company deducted money from their wages for the cost of this housing, and also deducted from the workers’ SSI benefits for the same “benefits.”
The court hearing the case determined that the workers were entitled to wages totaling $1.3 million. Unfortunately, the law entitled them to wages for only two years, though some had worked at indentured servant rates for upwards of 25 years.
The case shows a breathtaking level of exploitation of people who could legitimately be called victims, yet who worked hard and trained their replacements. These workers knew their jobs, but were unable to see through the deliberate misrepresentations. The trial on other issues relating to their mistreatment will be heard in the spring.