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Workplace Issues Today: The heat is on for California farmworkers

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California and the United Farm Workers are suing the state of California for failure to adequately protect farmworkers. The unions allege that Cal-OSHA has not enforced laws that protect workers from extreme heat (laws that require regular water breaks, or access to shade, for instance), or made an effort to pass new and better regulations. 11 workers have died of heat-related issues in Southern California since 2005. Cal-OSHA deputy director Dean Fryer says the suit is “misguided,” and maintains that California regulations actually go far beyond the laws of most other states. The ACLU filed suit in a California state court in Los Angeles Thursday morning.

See Farmworkers sue state for failing to enforce heat protection laws,” by Anna Gorman, Los Angeles Times, Jul 31 2009 (JKW)

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