Marubeni-owned North Pacific Seafoods sued for unpaid wages and false imprisonment

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Will pay out sum to 150 workers.

In June, SalmonBusiness reported that Marubeni-owned North Pacific Seafoods was being sued over claims that it stuck 150 workers in quarantine in a Los Angeles hotel after three tested positive for coronavirus.

At the time, Jonathan Davis, one of the attorneys from the Arns Law Firm representing the workers – who were meant to work at its Red Salmon Cannery in Naknek, Alaska, said that situation was “bizarre and outrageous”.

The lawsuit alleged “false imprisonment, nonpayment of wages, failure to pay minimum wages and overtime, negligence and unlawful business practices.”

The lawsuit described how the mostly Spanish- speaking workers from Mexico arrived at the hotel on June 10th and waited in a cramped and crowded hallway at the hotel for hours until their names were called and they were processed and tested for COVID-19. After being processed and tested, the workers were required to go to their hotel rooms and remain there.

The workers’ hotel room keys were deactivated so they could not leave and re-enter their rooms. Additionally, as the lawsuit stated, the workers were told they would not be paid for the time in confinement and that if they left their rooms they would be terminated.

In a release, Arns Law Firm now reports that North Pacific Seafoods has settled the lawsuit for USD 440,000. As a result of this, most of the workers are eligible to receive up to USD 2,685 if they sign a release negotiated with North Pacific.

“We think that it is a fair and just compensation for the workers that were held for 12 days at a hotel without being paid,” said Jonathan Davis.