Filipino teachers in Louisiana who claimed they were forced into "exploitative contracts" when they came to the state following Hurricane Katrina were awarded $4.5 million by a jury in Los Angeles Monday.
The approximately 350 teachers were recruited by Universal Placement International of Los Angeles. The teachers claim the firm forced them to pay about $16,000 each in fees to secure their jobs.
(This is 5.6 Million- 4.5 million settlement- company still makes 1.1 million)
While in the Philippines, the teachers first were told they needed to pay $5,000 to $5,500 in recruitment fees. After they gave the firm that money and couldn't get it refunded, the firm also told the teachers they had to pay for their own plane tickets to the U.S. and pay another fee totaling three months' salary, the lawsuit said.
Once they arrived in the U.S., the teachers were subject to a "system of psychological coercion and intimidation," the lawsuit said. The recruiting firm sued teachers who complained publicly about their treatment, and also threatened to deport teachers or not renew their visas, it said.