Tentative Settlement in OC Day Labor Case

In 2007, day laborers in Orange County were told that they couldn’t stand on a corner in Lake Forest to look for work. The Sheriff’s Deputies involved stated that they informed the laborers that they had received complaints from neighbors regarding pollution and that the men could not stand on the sidewalk when seeking work per city ordinance.

The laborers, however, stated that the Deputies told them that they could not stand in the area at all. This being California, there was a subsequent protest regarding the sidewalk ordinance and 2 people were arrested. Day Worker Groups, with the assistance with the ACLU sued the city and the Sheriff’s Department in an effort to strike down the city ordinance. It now seems a settlement is in the works.

From the Orange County Register:

Day laborers reached a tentative settlement in a federal lawsuit against the Orange County Sheriff’s Department over soliciting work on public property.

The deal was reached before a trial that was to have begun Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana.

S. Frank Harrell, an attorney for the sheriff’s deputies, was unavailable for comment.

According to attorney Jeffrey Dunn, who represents Lake Forest, the city had settled some time ago and the sheriff’s department was the only party left in the suit.

Gordon Smith, communications director for American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, said settlement talks were under way and an announcement dealing with the settlement will be made next week.

Definitely a very interesting case, particularly since one rarely thinks of day labor when discussing employment issues. I definitely need to correct that.