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The Associated Press April 13, 2011, 10:32AM ET

Guest workers sue farm claiming pesticide exposure

A group of 15 Mexican guest workers is suing the owners of a Newport tomato farm, claiming civil rights and labor law violations.

The suit filed in federal court in Knoxville on Tuesday claims the workers were repeatedly exposed to pesticides while working at Fish Farms last year. It claims the workers were retaliated against, fired and deported when they complained.

The workers were brought by Fish Farms to the United States under the H-2A visa program. It allows employees to hire foreign workers when there are not enough American workers to take the jobs.

Employers are also required to house the workers, and the complaint claims the worker housing was overcrowded and squalid.

Fish Farms' attorney, Jay Mader, said the farm will respond to the allegations in court.

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