Category: Trafficking in TN


Government Cracks Down On Company Using Foreign Workers

Updated: Jun 07, 2011 7:20 PM

By Ben Hall
Investigative Reporter

The federal government has banned a local landscaping company from applying for the right to use foreign workers.

Vanderbilt Landscaping receives millions of dollars in state contracts, but investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor found the company did not properly recruit U.S. workers.

Vanderbilt Landscaping, which has an office in Smyrna, has claimed for years that it could not find enough Americans willing to work for more than $12 an hour.

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Razura Jiminez v. Vanderbilt Landscaping LLC, 3:11-0276, U.S. Dist. Ct., M.D. Tenn. (filed March 2011)

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Mexican guestworker Hilario Razura Jimenez and fifteen other H-2B guestworkers working in the landscaping industry bring claims for including forced labor; trafficking with respect to peonage, slavery, involuntary servitude; violations of the civil rights act.

Guestworkers employed by the Vanderbilt Defendants in 2010 assert claims arising from violations of their rights under the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (“WWTVPRA”); the Thirteenth Amendment; the Civil Rights Act of 1866 (42 U.S.C. § 1981); and the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”); and claims for damages arising from fraud and breach of contract. Plaintiffs Hilario Razura Jimenez, Jose Manuel Guerrero Gomez, and J. Refugio Castellon Luna also bring claims arising from the retaliation in violation of the Tennessee Whistleblower’s Act (Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-1-304 ), the Civil Rights Act of 1866 (42 U.S.C. § 1981); the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 (42 U.S.C. § 1985), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and retaliatory discharge. Plaintiff Jose Manual Guerrero Gomez also brings outrageous conduct and false imprisonment claims for the Vanderbilt Defendants’ retaliatory private deportation.

Guestworkers employed by the Onesource Defendants in 2009 assert claims arising from violations of their rights under the Civil Rights Act of 1866 (42 U.S.C. § 1981) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and claims for damages arising from fraud and breach of contract.

The suit alleges that “After receiving close to a million dollars in stimulus loans designated for job creation and winning over 2 million dollars in state contracts, Vanderbilt Landscaping LLC cut its labor costs by importing H-2B guestworkers from Mexico and subjecting them to a scheme of constant surveillance, threats of serious harm, and threatened abuse of the legal process, and psychological coercion to maintain control over them and force them to live and work in conditions that violated state and federal labor laws without the option to quit and return home or improve the conditions of forced labor.”

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