Georgia vegetable farm ordered to pay $500,000

Posted at 12:45 PM, Dec 13, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-13 07:54:29-05

ATLANTA (AP) — Federal officials say one of Georgia's largest vegetable farms has agreed to pay $500,000 to settle claims that the company discriminated against U.S. and black workers because of their race and national origin while giving better treatment to workers from Mexico.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced the settlement Thursday involving Hamilton Growers Inc., which has done business as Southern Valley Fruit and Vegetable Inc. of Norman Park. Federal officials say the agreement resolves a lawsuit filed by the EEOC in September 2011.

The EEOC's lawsuit alleged that the firm let most of its U.S. workers go but kept nearly all of its workers from Mexico. The lawsuit also maintained that black workers got fewer hours and were forced into less-lucrative work.