Illegal immigrants sue over 'abusive' employment


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- A federal lawsuit accuses a cheese company in Manchester of treating 12 illegal immigrant employees abusively and wrongly having them arrested when they demanded back pay.

The Montgomery, Ala.-based Southern Poverty Law Center filed the lawsuit seeking damages Thursday from Durrett Cheese Sales Inc. A hearing has been set for Nov. 3 in Winchester.

The law center's Immigrant Justice Project director, Mary Bauer, says the suit seeks damages for nine women and three men who were in the United States illegally when they were working at the company and arrested in October 2007.

The suit also names Coffee County Sheriff Steve Graves, who said the workers were arrested for disorderly conduct and turned over to federal immigration agents. Graves said the arrested employees were treated "with the utmost respect."

Telephone messages left at the company were not returned.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to Please provide detailed information.

powered by Disqus


6450 Papermill Drive Knoxville, TN 37919 Phone - (865) 450-8888; Fax - (865) 450-8869
Copyright © 2014 WVLT-TV Inc. - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 31153019 -
Gray Television, Inc.