Stanley Farms, which cultivates about 1,200 acres of Vidalia onions, is being sued by workers who claim they were paid wages less than what fellow foreign co-workers were paid.
Twenty current and former employees filed suit against the Lyons, Ga., company earlier this month in federal district court. An effort to reach Stanley Farms for comment was unsuccessful.
The plaintiffs say Stanley Farms paid them less than minimum wage over the last three years and illegally cut their wages. The plaintiffs said they also worked alongside pickers who had work permits and who were paid more money than what American workers received
“We see this repeatedly,” said plaintiff’s attorney Dawson Morton. “Farms complain that no local workers are available. But when they do hire local workers, they don’t pay them fairly and don’t offer them the same pay as their foreign workers. It’s illegal and discourages American workers from continuing in agriculture.”
The suit claims the workers were paid 40 cents for each 5-gallon bucket of onions picked, while foreign workers received more than $9 a hour. Workers also had to purchase work tools from the company, the suit says.