About 150 seasonal workers slated to work at a salmon cannery in Alaska have been forced into quarantine at a hotel near Los Angeles without pay after three tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a lawsuit.
The workers, most who come from Southern California and Mexico, were hired June 2 to work at the Red Salmon Cannery in Naknek, Alaska through August, according to the lawsuit filed in San Francisco Superior Court, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The lawsuit alleges false imprisonment, failure to pay wages and overtime, negligence and unlawful business practices.
“There are certainly many, many horrible stories in the history of labor and migrant workers and seasonal workers in the United States. But I have not seen this type of case before,” attorney Johnathan Davis said.
The cannery is owned by North Pacific Seafoods. The Seattle-based company hires hundreds of seasonal workers for its Naknek cannery with promises of round-trip transportation to and from their point of hire and lodging and meals.
The lawsuit alleges the workers were gathered at the Crowne Plaza LAX near the Los Angeles International Airport for coronavirus testing. They were gathered in close contact for up to six hours and instructed to fill out paperwork using the same pens, it said.
Test results came back three days later that showed three tested positive, according to the suit. All 150 workers were told that their quarantine had been extended 11 days until June 25 and that they would not be paid for the time, the complaint said.
The hotel allegedly deactivated their keycards so they couldn’t come and go as they please and the workers were allegedly told they would be fired if they left their rooms. The lawsuit said the workers have been provided with no more than two meals per day and are prohibited from ordering room service or accessing other hotel services.
“We want to stress that the hotel did not prevent any guest from freely leaving the property and provided safe and comfortable accommodations to the guests, including three meals a day,” Jacob Hawkins, a spokesman for Intercontinental Hotels Group, which owns the Crowne Plaza LAX, IHG spokesman Jacob Hawkins told Fox News in an email.
Leauri Moore, vice president of human resources for North Pacific Seafoods, told the newspaper the company has not seen the complaint. She added that Alaska authorities require a 14-day controlled quarantine and coronavirus testing for anyone to work at a seafood processing plant in the state.
North Pacific Seafoods did not respond to comment requests from Fox News.
Davis said attorneys plan to seek a temporary restraining order next week to have the workers paid.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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