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Jamaican workers to split US$2m under settlement with US Resort

From Caribbean News Service

SOUTH CAROLINA, Dec 21 2016 – About 240 Jamaican workers at a luxury golf resort in South Carolina are to share US2 million under a deal to settle a lawsuit alleging that for two years, their employer wrongfully deducted money from their pay.

The order signed on December 16 by US District Judge Richard Gergel applies to a pool of Jamaican workers employed to Kiawah Island Golf Resort on H-2B visas.

The H-2B visa programme allows US employers to bring foreigners to the country to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs.

Several of the workers filed a class-action lawsuit last year accusing Kiawah of failing to properly pay them minimum wages because it deducted housing and transportation costs from 2012 through to 2014.

The workers argued that the deductions were not put in writing when they were hired for jobs at the resort property.

It said for years, the workers left their homes and families in Jamaica and spent considerable money and effort to go to the United States to work for Kiawah.

Under the agreement, roughly 240 housekeepers, cooks, bellmen and other service workers would share US$2 million.

The workers were employed in kitchen, dining room and housekeeping jobs.

Kiawah has agreed to pay an additional $300,000 in legal fees.

Kiawah officials have, however, denied the allegations. (AP)

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