ST. PAUL (WJON News) - Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison says he has secured additional protections for workers at a Stearns County Dairy.

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In a stipulated temporary injunction filed in Stearns County District Court, Evergreen Acres Dairy, Evergreen Estates, Morgan Feedlots, and owners Keith Schaefer and Megan Hill agree to:

  • Make and keep proper records to show the hours Evergreen employees worked;
  • Give employees clear written notice, in Spanish and English, of what their wages will be;
  • Ensure workers are paid for every dollar they earn;
  • Stop making deductions from workers’ pay without written permission;
  • Stop charging rent for substandard housing;
  • Pay for a housing inspector who will inspect worker housing and issue a report documenting housing code violations;
  • Report back to the Attorney General’s Office on Evergreen’s progress in fixing housing safety issues;
  • Allow re-inspections to confirm workers are no longer living in any unsafe conditions; and
  • Work with the Attorney General’s Office to ensure workers are not suddenly displaced when repairs occur.

In announcing the injunction, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison says this step protects workers currently employed at the dairy.

I am fighting to stop Evergreen from illegally profiting off the backs of vulnerable workers and to protect honest dairy farms from being undercut by a business that we allege is breaking the law. As we prosecute this lawsuit against Evergreen, I will continue to use the powers of my office to help employees keep their hard-earned wages and ensure that tenants have safe homes.

In January, Ellison announced a lawsuit against Evergreen alleging the diary farm withheld millions of dollars of worker pay, illegally deducted rent for substandard housing, and threatened workers to discourage reporting.

Attorney General Ellison says his office is seeking to stop Evergreen’s failure to pay its employees all the wages they have earned, stop its violations of Minnesota’s housing habitability standards and tenant protections, and fully remediate the harm to its employees, including by restituting employees’ earned and unpaid wages.

The lawsuit also asks for liquidated damages, civil penalties, costs, and attorney’s fees.

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