A Healdsburg, California, winery agreed to pay $328,077 to 21 workers whom the winery allegedly refused to rehire because they had complained about unsanitary conditions and other workplace issues.

The California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, which filed a complaint against Mauritson Farms, announced the settlement.

“Mauritson Farms recruited and hired many of the same farmworkers through the H-2A guestworker program in 2019, 2020 and 2021,” ALRB said. “In 2021, several of these workers sought assistance and support from the Santa Rosa-based nonprofit North Bay Jobs with Justice (NBJWJ), which helped them communicate their complaints to Mauritson Farms.”

NBJWJ filed a complaint in March with ALRB, which filed a complaint against Mauritson shortly thereafter.

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As part of the settlement, Mauritson Farms “agreed to compensate the entire crew of H-2A workers who were not rehired for lost wages, as well as to uphold the rights of farmworkers, including workers hired through the H-2A guestworker program, to join together to speak up and seek improvements to their working conditions,” ALRB said.

Mauritson did not admit any wrongdoing in the settlement. In a statement, the company denied violating state law, characterizing the settlement as a “business decision,” the Riverside Press Democrat reported.

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