You are on page 1of 13

Case 2:11-cv-03045-EFS Document 1 Filed 04/19/11

1 ANNA Y. PARK, SBN 164242


U.S. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT
2 OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION
3 255 E. Temple Street, 4th Floor
Los Angeles, California 90012
4
Telephone: (213) 894-1080
5 Facsimile: (213) 894-1301
6
E-mail: lado.legal@eeoc.gov

7 Attorneys for Plaintiff EEOC


8
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON
10
11 EQUAL EMPLOYMENT ) CIVIL ACTION NO.
OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, )
) CV-11-3045-EFS
12
13 Plaintiff, ) C O M P L A I N T
14 )
v. ) DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL
15 )
16 GLOBAL HORIZONS, INC. D/B/A )
GLOBAL HORIZONS MANPOWER, )
17
INC.; GREEN ACRE FARMS, INC.; )
18 VALLEY FRUIT ORCHARDS, LLC; )
19 AND DOES 1-10, INCLUSIVE; )
)
20 Defendants. )
21 )
22 NATURE OF THE ACTION
23 This is an action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title I
24 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991 to correct unlawful employment practices on the
25 basis of national origin, race, and retaliation, and to provide appropriate relief to
26 Marut Kongpia, Laphit Khadthan, and the class of similarly situated Thai and
27 Asian individuals (collectively, the “Claimants”) who were adversely affected by
28 such practices. As alleged with greater particularity in paragraphs 18 through 27

Complaint - 1
Case 2:11-cv-03045-EFS Document 1 Filed 04/19/11

1 below, the EEOC asserts that Defendants engaged in discrimination and a pattern
2 or practice of discrimination when they subjected the Claimants to harassment,
3 disparate treatment, and constructive discharge on the basis of the Claimants’
4 national origin (Thai) and race (Asian), and engaged in retaliation and a pattern or
5 practice of retaliation when Defendants subjected the Claimants to retaliation.
6 JURISDICTION AND VENUE
7 1. Jurisdiction of this Court is invoked pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 451,
8 1331, 1337, 1343 and 1345. This action is authorized and instituted pursuant to
9 Sections 706(f)(1) and (3) and 707 of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as
10 amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e-5(f)(1) and (3) and -6 (“Title VII”) and Section 102
11 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42 U.S.C. § 1981a.
12 2. A substantial part of the employment practices alleged to be unlawful
13 were committed within the jurisdiction of the United States District Court for the
14 Eastern District of Washington.
15 PARTIES
16 3. Plaintiff, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the
17 “Commission”), is the agency of the United States of America charged with the
18 administration, interpretation, and enforcement of Title VII, and is expressly
19 authorized to bring this action by Sections 706(f)(1) and (3) and 707 of Title VII,
20 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e-5(f)(1) and (3) and -6.
21 4. At all relevant times, Defendant Global Horizons, Inc. dba Global
22 Horizons Manpower, Inc. (“Global”) has continuously been a California
23 corporation doing business in the State of Washington and the County of Yakima,
24 and has continuously had at least 15 employees.
25 5. At all relevant times, Defendant Global has continuously been an
26 employer engaged in an industry affecting commerce within the meaning of
27 Sections 701(b), (g) and (h) of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e(b), (g) and (h).
28

Complaint - 2
Case 2:11-cv-03045-EFS Document 1 Filed 04/19/11

1 6. At all relevant times, Defendant Green Acre Farms, Inc. (“Green


2 Acre”) has continuously been a Washington corporation doing business in the State
3 of Washington and the County of Yakima, and has continuously had at least 15
4 employees.
5 7. At all relevant times, Defendant Green Acre has continuously been an
6 employer engaged in an industry affecting commerce within the meaning of
7 Sections 701(b), (g) and (h) of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e(b), (g) and (h).
8 8. At all relevant times, Defendant Green Acre has continuously been
9 under contract with Defendant Global for services rendered in Washington, and
10 has continuously been a joint employer with Defendant Global where both
11 generally controlled the terms and conditions of the employment of Laphit
12 Khadthan and similarly situated individuals.
13 9. At all relevant times, Defendant Valley Fruit Orchards, LLC (“Valley
14 Fruit”) has continuously been a Washington limited liability company doing
15 business in the State of Washington and the County of Yakima, and has
16 continuously had at least 15 employees.
17 10. At all relevant times, Defendant Valley Fruit has continuously been an
18 employer engaged in an industry affecting commerce within the meaning of
19 Sections 701(b), (g) and (h) of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e(b), (g) and (h).
20 11. At all relevant times, Defendant Valley Fruit has continuously been
21 under contract with Defendant Global for services rendered in Washington, and
22 has continuously been a joint employer with Defendant Global where both
23 generally controlled the terms and conditions of the employment of Marut Kongpia
24 and similarly situated individuals.
25 12. Defendants Green Acre and Valley Fruit (collectively, the “Joint
26 Employers”) are persons against whom a right to relief is asserted jointly,
27 severally, or out of the same transaction or series of transactions. Additionally,
28 questions of law or fact common to all Defendants will arise in this action. Joint

Complaint - 3
Case 2:11-cv-03045-EFS Document 1 Filed 04/19/11

1 Employers are named as parties pursuant to Rule 20(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of
2 Civil Procedure in that Defendant Global and the Joint Employers, at all relevant
3 times, acted as joint employers with regard to the relevant Claimants.
4 13. Plaintiff is ignorant of the true names and capacities of each
5 Defendant sued as DOES 1 through 10, inclusively, and therefore Plaintiff sues
6 said defendants by fictitious names. Plaintiff reserves the right to amend the
7 complaint to name each DOE defendant individually or collectively as they
8 become known. Plaintiff alleges that each DOE defendant was in come manner
9 responsible for the acts and omissions alleged herein and Plaintiff will amend the
10 complaint to allege such responsibility when the same shall have been ascertained
11 by Plaintiff.
12 14. All of the acts and failures to act alleged herein were duly performed
13 by and attributable to each DOE, each acting as a successor, agent, alter ego,
14 employee, indirect employer, joint employer, integrated enterprise, and/or under
15 the direction and control of the another DOE and/or named Defendant, except as
16 specifically alleged otherwise. Said acts and failures to act were within the scope
17 of such agency and/or employment, and each DOE participated in, approved and/or
18 ratified the unlawful acts and omissions by another DOE or Defendants
19 complained of herein. Whenever and wherever reference is made in this
20 Complaint to any act by a DOE or DOES, such allegations and reference shall also
21 be deemed to mean the acts and failures to act of each DOE and named Defendants
22 acting individually, jointly, and/or severally.
23 STATEMENT OF CLAIMS
24 15. More than thirty days prior to the institution of this lawsuit, Marut
25 Kongpia filed a charge with the Commission alleging violations of Title VII by
26 Defendant Global. All conditions precedent to the institution of this lawsuit have
27 been fulfilled.
28

Complaint - 4
Case 2:11-cv-03045-EFS Document 1 Filed 04/19/11

1 16. More than thirty days prior to the institution of this lawsuit, Laphit
2 Khadthan filed a charge with the Commission alleging violations of Title VII by
3 Defendant Green Acre. All conditions precedent to the institution of this lawsuit
4 have been fulfilled.
5 17. More than thirty days prior to the institution of this lawsuit, Marut
6 Kongpia filed a charge with the Commission alleging violations of Title VII by
7 Defendant Valley Fruit. All conditions precedent to the institution of this lawsuit
8 have been fulfilled.
9 18. Since at least 2003, Defendant Global engaged in unlawful
10 employment practices and a pattern or practice of such unlawful acts at its Los
11 Angeles, CA, and Beverly Hills, CA, locations and at placement sites in
12 Washington in violation of Section 703(a) of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a).
13 a. Global—often with the help of the agricultural companies and farms
14 with which it contracted—subjected the Claimants to different terms and
15 conditions of employment and engaged in a pattern or practice of such acts based
16 on the Claimants’ Thai national origin and Asian race. Global targeted
17 economically-vulnerable Asian men from Thailand, and engaged in a pattern or
18 practice of such acts. Global promised the Claimants’ working conditions that
19 complied with U.S. law in exchange for exorbitant recruiting fees, and engaged in
20 a pattern or practice of such acts. Global harassed and intimidated the Claimants
21 on a regular basis, and engaged in a pattern or practice of such acts. Global
22 regularly threatened the Claimants with deportation, arrest, suspension, and/or
23 physical violence, and engaged in a pattern or practice of such acts. Global
24 unlawfully confiscated the Claimants’ identification documents, and engaged in a
25 pattern or practice of such acts. Global subjected the Claimants to uninhabitable
26 housing, insufficient food and kitchen facilities, inadequate pay, significant gaps in
27 work, visa and certification violations, suspension, deportation, and/or physical
28 violence at the hands a Global supervisor, and engaged in a pattern or practice of

Complaint - 5
Case 2:11-cv-03045-EFS Document 1 Filed 04/19/11

1 such acts. Global subjected the Claimants to intolerable working conditions that
2 resulted in constructive discharge, and engaged in a pattern or practice of such acts.
3 b. Global—often with the help of the agricultural companies and farms
4 with which it contracted—subjected the Claimants to a hostile environment and
5 engaged in a pattern or practice of such acts based on the Claimants’ Thai national
6 origin and Asian race. Global targeted economically-vulnerable Asian men from
7 Thailand, and engaged in a pattern or practice of such acts. Global promised to
8 provide the Claimants’ with working conditions that complied with U.S. law in
9 exchange for exorbitant recruiting fees, and engaged in a pattern or practice of
10 such acts. Global harassed and intimidated the Claimants on a regular basis, and
11 engaged in a pattern or practice of such acts. Global regularly threatened the
12 Claimants with deportation, arrest, suspension, and/or physical violence, and
13 engaged in a pattern or practice of such acts. Global unlawfully confiscated the
14 Claimants’ identification documents, and engaged in a pattern or practice of such
15 acts. Global subjected the Claimants to uninhabitable housing, insufficient food
16 and kitchen facilities, inadequate pay, significant gaps in work, visa and
17 certification violations, suspension, deportation, and/or physical violence at the
18 hands a Global supervisor, and engaged in a pattern or practice of such acts.
19 Global subjected the Claimants to intolerable working conditions that resulted in
20 constructive discharge, and engaged in a pattern or practice of such acts.
21 19. Since at least 2003, Defendant Global engaged in unlawful
22 employment practices and a pattern or practice of such unlawful acts at its Los
23 Angeles, CA, and Beverly Hills, CA, locations and at placement sites in
24 Washington in violation of Section 704(a) of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a).
25 a. When the Claimants complained of the unlawful employment
26 practices alleged in paragraph 18 above, Global threatened the Claimants with
27 deportation, arrest, suspension, and/or physical violence, and engaged in a pattern
28 or practice of such acts. When the Claimants complained of the unlawful

Complaint - 6
Case 2:11-cv-03045-EFS Document 1 Filed 04/19/11

1 employment practices alleged in paragraph 18 above, Global subjected the


2 Claimants to harassment, significant gaps in work, suspension, deportation, and/or
3 physical violence at the hands of a Global supervisor, and engaged in a pattern or
4 practice of such acts. When the Claimants complained of the unlawful
5 employment practices alleged in paragraph 18 above, Global subjected the
6 Claimants to intolerable working conditions that resulted in constructive discharge,
7 and engaged in a pattern or practice of such acts.
8 20. Since at least 2003, Defendant Green Acre either engaged in, knew of,
9 or should have known of the unlawful employment practices and pattern or
10 practice of such unlawful acts alleged in paragraph 18 above that occurred at or
11 around its Washington location and/or Global’s California location in violation of
12 Section 703(a) of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a).
13 21. Since at least 2003, Defendant Green Acre either engaged in, knew of,
14 or should have known of the unlawful employment practices and pattern or
15 practice of such unlawful acts alleged in paragraph 19 above that occurred at or
16 around its Washington location and/or Global’s California location in violation of
17 Section 704(a) of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a).
18 22. Since at least 2003, Defendant Valley Fruit either engaged in, knew
19 of, or should have known of the unlawful employment practices and pattern or
20 practice of such unlawful acts alleged in paragraph 18 above that occurred at or
21 around its Washington location and/or Global’s California location in violation of
22 Section 703(a) of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a).
23 23. Since at least 2003, Defendant Valley Fruit either engaged in, knew
24 of, or should have known of the unlawful employment practices and pattern or
25 practice of such unlawful acts alleged in paragraph 19 above that occurred at or
26 around its Washington location and/or Global’s California location in violation of
27 Section 704(a) of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a).
28

Complaint - 7
Case 2:11-cv-03045-EFS Document 1 Filed 04/19/11

1 24. The effect of the practices complained of in paragraphs 18, 20 and 22


2 above has been to deprive Marut Kongpia, Laphit Khadthan, and the class of
3 similarly situated Thai and Asian individuals of equal employment opportunities
4 and otherwise adversely affect their status as employees because of their national
5 origin (Thai) and race (Asian).
6 25. The effect of the practices complained of in paragraphs 19, 21, and 23
7 above has been to deprive Marut Kongpia, Laphit Khadthan, and the class of
8 similarly situated Thai and Asian individuals of equal employment opportunities
9 and otherwise adversely affect their status as employees because of the their
10 protected activity.
11 26. The unlawful employment practices complained of in paragraphs 18
12 through 25 above were intentional.
13 27. The unlawful employment practices complained of in paragraphs 18
14 through 26 above were done with malice or with reckless indifference to the
15 federally protected rights of Marut Kongpia, Laphit Khadthan, and the class of
16 similarly situated Thai and Asian individuals.
17 PRAYER FOR RELIEF
18 Wherefore, the Commission respectfully requests that this Court:
19 A. Grant a permanent injunction enjoining Defendant Global, its officers,
20 agents, servants, employees, attorneys, and all persons in active concert or
21 participation with them, from engaging in discrimination—including harassment,
22 disparate treatment, and constructive discharge—on the basis of the Claimants’
23 national origin (Thai) and race (Asian), or a pattern or practice of such
24 discrimination.
25 B. Grant a permanent injunction enjoining Defendant Global, its officers,
26 agents, servants, employees, attorneys, and all persons in active concert or
27 participation with them, from engaging in retaliation or a pattern or practice of
28 retaliation.

Complaint - 8
Case 2:11-cv-03045-EFS Document 1 Filed 04/19/11

1 C. Grant a permanent injunction enjoining Defendant Green Acre, its


2 officers, agents, servants, employees, attorneys, and all persons in active concert or
3 participation with them, from engaging in discrimination—including harassment,
4 disparate treatment, and constructive discharge—on the basis of the Claimants’
5 national origin (Thai) and race (Asian), or a pattern or practice of such
6 discrimination.
7 D. Grant a permanent injunction enjoining Defendant Green Acre, its
8 officers, agents, servants, employees, attorneys, and all persons in active concert or
9 participation with them, from engaging in retaliation or a pattern or practice of
10 retaliation.
11 E. Grant a permanent injunction enjoining Defendant Valley Fruit, its
12 officers, agents, servants, employees, attorneys, and all persons in active concert or
13 participation with them, from engaging in discrimination—including harassment,
14 disparate treatment, and constructive discharge—on the basis of the Claimants’
15 national origin (Thai) and race (Asian), or a pattern or practice of such
16 discrimination.
17 F. Grant a permanent injunction enjoining Defendant Valley Fruit, its
18 officers, agents, servants, employees, attorneys, and all persons in active concert or
19 participation with them, from engaging in retaliation or a pattern or practice of
20 retaliation.
21 G. Order Defendant Global to institute and carry out policies, practices,
22 and programs which provide equal employment opportunities for individuals of
23 Thai national origin and Asian race, and which eradicate the effects of its past and
24 present unlawful employment practices.
25 H. Order Defendant Green Acre to institute and carry out policies,
26 practices, and programs which provide equal employment opportunities for
27 individuals of Thai national origin and Asian race, and which eradicate the effects
28 of its past and present unlawful employment practices.

Complaint - 9
Case 2:11-cv-03045-EFS Document 1 Filed 04/19/11

1 I. Order Defendant Valley Fruit to institute and carry out policies,


2 practices, and programs which provide equal employment opportunities for
3 individuals of Thai national origin and Asian race, and which eradicate the effects
4 of its past and present unlawful employment practices.
5 J. Order Defendant Global to make whole Marut Kongpia and similarly
6 situated individuals, by providing appropriate backpay with prejudgment interest,
7 in amounts to be determined at trial, and other affirmative relief necessary to
8 eradicate the effects of its unlawful employment practices, including but not
9 limited to reinstatement of Marut Kongpia and similarly situated individuals.
10 K. Order Defendant Green Acre to make whole Laphit Khadthan and
11 similarly situated individuals, by providing appropriate backpay with prejudgment
12 interest, in amounts to be determined at trial, and other affirmative relief necessary
13 to eradicate the effects of its unlawful employment practices, including but not
14 limited to reinstatement of Laphit Khadthan and similarly situated individuals.
15 L. Order Defendant Valley Fruit to make whole Marut Kongpia and
16 similarly situated individuals, by providing appropriate backpay with prejudgment
17 interest, in amounts to be determined at trial, and other affirmative relief necessary
18 to eradicate the effects of its unlawful employment practices, including but not
19 limited to reinstatement of Marut Kongpia and similarly situated individuals.
20 M. Order Defendant Global to make whole Marut Kongpia and similarly
21 situated individuals, by providing compensation for past and future pecuniary
22 losses resulting from the unlawful employment practices described in paragraphs
23 18 through 27 above, including recruitment fees, relocation expenses, job search
24 expenses, and medical expenses, in amounts to be determined at trial.
25 N. Order Defendant Green Acre to make whole Laphit Khadthan and
26 similarly situated individuals, by providing compensation for past and future
27 pecuniary losses resulting from the unlawful employment practices described in
28

Complaint - 10
Case 2:11-cv-03045-EFS Document 1 Filed 04/19/11

1 paragraphs 18 through 27 above, including recruitment fees, relocation expenses,


2 job search expenses, and medical expenses, in amounts to be determined at trial.
3 O. Order Defendant Valley Fruit to make whole Marut Kongpia and
4 similarly situated individuals, by providing compensation for past and future
5 pecuniary losses resulting from the unlawful employment practices described in
6 paragraphs 18 through 27 above, including recruitment fees, relocation expenses,
7 job search expenses, and medical expenses, in amounts to be determined at trial.
8 P. Order Defendant Global to make whole Marut Kongpia and similarly
9 situated individuals, by providing compensation for past and future nonpecuniary
10 losses resulting from the unlawful practices complained of in paragraphs 18
11 through 27 above, including emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, loss of
12 enjoyment of life, and humiliation, in amounts to be determined at trial.
13 Q. Order Defendant Green Acre to make whole Laphit Khadthan and
14 similarly situated individuals, by providing compensation for past and future
15 nonpecuniary losses resulting from the unlawful practices complained of in
16 paragraphs 18 through 27 above, including emotional pain, suffering,
17 inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, and humiliation, in amounts to be
18 determined at trial.
19 R. Order Defendant Valley Fruit to make whole Marut Kongpia and
20 similarly situated individuals, by providing compensation for past and future
21 nonpecuniary losses resulting from the unlawful practices complained of in
22 paragraphs 18 through 27 above, including emotional pain, suffering,
23 inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, and humiliation, in amounts to be
24 determined at trial.
25 S. Order Defendant Global to pay Marut Kongpia and similarly situated
26 individuals punitive damages for its malicious and reckless conduct described in
27 paragraphs 18 through 27 above, in amounts to be determined at trial.
28

Complaint - 11
Case 2:11-cv-03045-EFS Document 1 Filed 04/19/11

1 T. Order Defendant Green Acre to pay Laphit Khadthan and similarly


2 situated individuals punitive damages for its malicious and reckless conduct
3 described in paragraphs 18 through 27 above, in amounts to be determined at trial.
4 U. Order Defendant Valley Fruit to pay Marut Kongpia and similarly
5 situated individuals punitive damages for its malicious and reckless conduct
6 described in paragraphs 18 through 27 above, in amounts to be determined at trial.
7 V. Grant such further relief as the Court deems necessary and proper in
8 the public interest.
9 W. Award the Commission its costs of this action.
10 ///
11 ///
12 ///
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28

Complaint - 12
Case 2:11-cv-03045-EFS Document 1 Filed 04/19/11