The company, Crop Production, has been sued by the Justice Department for hiring foreign workers instead of Americans. The suit claims that the farming company refused to employ at least three Americans in 2016. This marks the first instance a complaint using the “Protecting U.S. Workers Initiative” has been implemented since its inception in March.
Crop Production has allegedly discriminated against seasonal American workers in favor of those with temporary work visas. The suit cites the discrimination took place at least three times in El Campo, Texas. Cheaper wages were allegedly a contributing factor in the hiring decision.
The complaint also stated that American workers were subject to an “onerous hiring process,” which included drug testing and background checks. According to the New York Post, the foreign visa applicants were not subject to any of those checks.
The suit argues that 15 seasonal jobs could have been filled by Americans but were instead given to foreign workers with a “limited English proficiency.”
According to the Justice Department, the company allegedly violated the visa program as the hiring of foreign workers can “not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed US workers.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions commented on the suit in a statement: “In the spirit of President Trump’s Executive Order on Buy American and Hire American, the Department of Justice will not tolerate employers who discriminate against U.S. workers because of a desire to hire temporary foreign visa holders,” he said.
“… Where there is a job available, U.S. workers should have a chance at it before we bring in workers from abroad,” he concluded.
A Civil Rights Division spokesperson told Fox News that they have 29 open cases of American workers being discriminated against.
The Justice Department has made it clear that Crop Company will need to pay back wages to those named in the suit, pay civil penalties and incorporate training to make sure this does not happen again.