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Six migrant workers would split a total of more than $21,000 in a proposed settlement of a lawsuit filed last year alleging a Louisiana crayfish processing company underpaid them in violation of wage laws minimum.
The proposed settlement was filed this week in federal court in Lafayette. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of workers Norma Edith Torres Quinonez and Martha Icela Flores Gaxiola, both Mexicans, against Crawfish Processing LLC in Marksville.
Four other workers later joined the litigation, which also alleged that the workers were housed in unsafe and unsanitary conditions and charged excessive rents. If approved by a federal judge, the six plaintiffs would receive amounts ranging from $1,863 to $4,980.
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The amounts represent unpaid wages that workers reported owing under the US Fair Labor Standards Act, plus 50% of those wages and rent reimbursement. When the original lawsuit was filed in May last year, the two original plaintiffs said they regularly worked 60 or more hours a week, that the company failed to pay the $9.75 hour they were promised and the pay had fallen below the $7.25 an hour they were legally entitled to.
The court document filed Wednesday says the settlement is a compromise of a “good faith” dispute over the number of hours worked by the plaintiffs and the rent owed to them. The company has not admitted any legal liability.
Crawfish Processing also agreed in the settlement to arrange state inspections of rental housing the company provides workers to ensure they meet federal standards and will ensure workers are informed that they are not required to live in company-provided accommodation.
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The lawsuit was filed by attorneys at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid. The settlement also includes $22,500 to cover the expenses and fees of workers’ attorneys.