The High Court of England and Wales has reportedly held DJ Houghton
Chicken Catching Services liable for claims brought by six Lithuanian
men who allege they were victims of trafficking. The company lost its
license after police raids in 2012 found what the Gangmasters Licensing
Authority called “the worst UK gangmaster ever.” The men assert that
during their employment catching chickens for the company, they were
denied sleep and toilet breaks, charged illegal work-finding fees, abused
and assaulted, denied minimum wages and provided dirty, overcrowded
and unsafe living quarters. The owners of the company argued that
a Lithuanian supervisor was at fault for the treatment, but the court
reportedly found that the supervisor’s methods were integral to business
operations, leaving the company liable for his actions.

The attorney representing the Lithuanian men told The Guardian, “This
is the first time a British company has been found liable for victims of
trafficking and it is going to make a world of difference to our clients. It
should be seen as a warning shot to businesses that they need to make
sure modern slavery is eradicated from their supply chains.” See The
Guardian and BBC, June 10, 2016.

 

Issue 608

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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