North Pacific Seafoods on hook for $500,000 after quarantining workers without pay

The Naknek inriver opener on July 18, 2020. (Photo courtesy Sage Smiley/KDLG)
The Naknek inriver opener on July 18, 2019. (Photo courtesy Sage Smiley/KDLG)

A Seattle-based seafood processor will pay out nearly half a million dollars to workers at a Bristol Bay cannery after settling a lawsuit filed in June.

The processor, North Pacific Seafoods, was sued for false imprisonment and failing to pay the workers, among other charges. The workers, who were from Mexico and the United States, were on their way to Naknek to work at the Red Salmon Cannery for the summer salmon season. The suit alleged that the workers arrived at the hotel and were forced to gather in a crowded hallway for several hours before they were tested for COVID-19. They were then told to go to their hotel rooms and wait.

When three of the workers tested positive for COVID-19, all of the workers at the hotel were told they had to quarantine without pay in the Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Airport Hotel or else they would lose their jobs.

“We think that it is a fair and just compensation for the workers that were held for 12 days at a hotel without being paid,” said Jonathan Davis, a managing partner of San Francisco-based Arns Law Firm, which filed the lawsuit.

As a result of the settlement, most of the workers are eligible to receive up to $2,685 if they sign a release negotiated with North Pacific. The specific amount depends on how long they were in Los Angeles.

KDLG reached out to the company for comment, but it did not respond in time for this broadcast.

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