On October 13, 2016, Cohen Milstein, along with co-counsel Towards Justice and Thierman Buck LLP, filed an amended complaint bringing class action claims against Western Range Association, El Tejon Sheep Company, Mountain Plains Agricultural Service and Estill Ranches in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada. The suit alleges that shepherds working for these companies under the “H-2A visa” program were being grossly underpaid, in violation of state wage & hour laws and federal immigration laws.
The lawsuit, entitled Castillo, et al. v. Western Range Association, et.al., is brought on behalf of shepherds employed through the H-2A visa program who worked for these companies over the past six years. The special visa program authorizes agricultural employers to recruit and hire temporary workers from outside of the United States, but requires them to comply with certain rules to ensure that the H-2A program is not used to undercut the wages that would be paid to U.S. workers. This includes paying the higher of either federal or state minimum wage. The shepherds allege that they worked long hours on a daily basis, and were paid far below minimum wage. Discovery in this case is currently underway. If you have any information or questions about this case, please feel free to contact us by calling 202-408-4612.