A lawsuit filed today in San Francisco Superior Court alleges that up to 150 cannery workers are being held in unpaid confinement at the Crowne Plaza LAX Hotel. The suit alleges the workers, mostly young adults from Mexico and parts of the United States, are being forced to remain in their rooms for 14 days, are being provided only two meals and are forbidden to access any hotel services.
The suit alleges on June 2, 2020, prospective cannery workers from Mexico and other parts of the United States were directed to travel to the Crowne Plaza LAX Hotel. The workers were informed they would be tested for COVID-19, quarantined for 4 days and then flown via charter plane to Alaska. The lawsuit describes 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 lawsuit further claims when three prospective workers tested positive for COVID-19, the workers were informed they would remain in quarantine until June 25th. The workers’ hotel room keys were deactivated so they could not leave and re-enter their rooms. Additionally, as the lawsuit states, the workers were told they would not be paid for the two weeks forced confinement, and that if they left their rooms they would be terminated. It is believed at least one worker has been terminated for leaving their room. Two meals are delivered to the workers’ rooms every day, but the workers are not allowed to access any of the hotel’s services.
The lawsuit alleges that North Pacific and the Crowne Plaza are unlawfully confining the workers to their rooms and that North Pacific is unlawfully withholding wages during the quarantine. The Plaintiffs are seeking a temporary restraining order to require North Pacific to pay the workers for the time spent at the hotel.
“It is a bizarre and outrageous situation and this lawsuit simply seeks what these workers are entitled to under the law. If an employer is going to force workers to stay in a hotel room 24 hours a day or risk termination, those workers are at least entitled to minimum compensation,” said Jonathan Davis, one of the attorneys representing the workers.
“Following safe procedures and protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 is a paramount public safety and health concern but that doesn’t absolve employers from paying employees under their control,” Davis added.
“We have acted quickly on their behalf and will seek injunctive relief with the court, not only because of the forced confinement and withholding of wages, but also out of concern that these workers will be taken out of state and North Pacific will try to simply sweep this under the rug.”
“These workers are young and vulnerable; most have travelled from various states in Mexico to do seasonal work. They deserve fair treatment and compensation.”
North Pacific Seafood, Inc. is a Washington corporation with its principal place of business located at 4 Nickerson Street, Suite 400, Seattle, Washington 98109. North Pacific Seafood, Inc. is in the business of canning and processing seafood and operates numerous facilities in Alaska. Defendant InterContinental Hotel Group plc is a United Kingdom company with its principal place of business located at 3 Ravinia Drive, Suite 100, Atlanta, Georgia 30346.
CONTACT: Arns Davis Law
Jonathan E. Davis: firstname.lastname@example.org, cell: 415-307-3234
Shounak Dharap: email@example.com, cell: 650-575-6485