By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

The U.S. Department of Labor has sued Southeastern Provision meat-packing plant in Bean Station, Tennessee in federal court seeking back pay and lost overtime, plus interest, for 151 former workers employed at the plant. As you may recall, Southeastern Provision was the first company to be raided by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) after its re-implementation in 2018. In the raid, the government confiscated company records and detained 97 workers, who were undocumented, mainly from Mexico and Guatemala.

Southeastern Provision’s owner, James Brantley, faces sentencing in June 2019 after he pleaded guilty to tax evasion, wire fraud and employing unauthorized immigrants. Additionally, the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Southeastern Provision more than $40,000 for forcing those immigrants to work in dirty, dangerous conditions as they skinned hides, gutted carcasses and hosed away blood.

This is an example of companies who employ large numbers of undocumented workers may also be violating other laws, such as wage & hour and OSHA.