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California company's employer defense against accusations

A California manufacturing food company that provides fresh produce for a number of large fast food chains and food providers across the nation is facing strong accusations and an attempt at unionization with a strong employer defense. Many workers have publicly denounced the company and claimed unsafe conditions. A company that is facing harsh accusations of unfair labor practices and denying workers' compensation when necessary may choose to prepare an employer defense to protect the business.

A recent report revealed the ongoing confrontation between disgruntled employees and the California fresh produce manufacturing farm facility. Employees who have been terminated alongside current workers organized a strike against purportedly harsh conditions in the factory and low wages in an attempt to be unionized. Some accuse the company of hiring illegal immigrants and threatening to report them or deport them if they do not comply to purportedly irrational demands of the company. A large number of employees hired by the company are temporary workers outsourced from local agencies, making unionization difficult. The employer defense claims the food company is not responsible for hiring illegal immigrants if the temp agency presents them as legally capable of working in California.

The food manufacturer has also been accused of forcing an inherently unsafe work environment and terminating employees that are hurt while working. Reports indicate that employees claim pregnant workers are unable to perform their duties in the factory environment and others are not provided the necessary ventilation or respiratory gear when working with toxic fumes and chemicals. Additional claims have been made against the company for the denial of restroom and lunch breaks during employee shifts.

Records reveal that an excessive number of ULP violation charges were filed against the food processing company by a local union with high industry presence, though not affiliated with the company. In response to the purported accusations of employees, industry inspectors and former employees the food company launched a legally backed employer defense. A business owner who is in a similar situation may benefit from researching their options in navigating the best possible way to handle harsh accusations and protect their company.

Source: counterpunch.org, Low-Wage Movement Strikes Fast Food Processing at Taylor Farms, Brian Tierney, Jan. 2, 2014

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