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Georgia Conditionally Certifies American-Citizen Farm Worker Class

American citizen farm workers have filed a class action complaint, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, against the Stanley farm and owners. The complaint alleges that the American farm workers were not offered the same pay rates as available under the H-2A job order. The U.S. Department of Labor's H-2A program provides for temporary employment of alien agricultural workers when insufficient domestic workers are available and where the employment of aliens will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of domestic workers.

The complaint also alleges that defendant farm and farm owners violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (AWPA) and 42 U.S. Code Section 1981.

Shortly after the Complaint was filed, the defendants sought to have the case dismissed. Plaintiffs moved for conditional certification of an FLSA collective action and moved to amend. All three motions were granted.

The motion to dismiss was granted because Section 1981 speaks only to race and citizenship status and does not extend to discrimination based on national origin. The FLSA collection action motion was granted because Plaintiffs have shown that other farm workers had similar job duties and pay provisions that these Plaintiffs complained about. Plaintiffs were granted their motion to amend, too, to join opt-in plaintiffs as parties to the case and to correct other minor complaint details.

The case is styled Tomason, et al. v. Stanley, et al., Case No. 6:13-CV-42, 2013 WL 5652040 (S.D. Ga.).

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