Families in Labor Camps
Authored By: Legal Aid Services of Oregon
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Court Says Denial of Labor Camp Housing to Families is Illegal
It is illegal to deny labor camp housing to farmworkers because they want to live there with their children. Federal and state laws, called fair housing laws, prohibit people who provide housing from discriminating against families with children.
A few years ago, several farms in the Willamette Valley turned away workers who applied for housing in the farms' labor camps, only because they wanted to live in the camp with their children. This caused great hardship for some families. Two of these families had to live in their car for eight days because they had nowhere else to go. One family finally had to move into a small apartment with other family members. The other family drove back to their home in California and left their small child with a friend. The family was separated for many months while the parents worked in the berry harvest.
These two families contacted Legal Services, who represented them in court cases against the two farms. The farms said the fair housing laws did not apply to farm labor camps. The court said the farms were wrong and that the farms' actions violated the fair housing laws. After these court rulings, the farms agreed to pay the families thousands of dollars.
The law protects your right to choose what kind of housing is best for your family. Remember, if a farm denies housing to you just because you want to live in a labor camp with your children, the farm is violating the fair housing laws.