Howard reaches tentative settlement in discrimination lawsuit

LAUREL — Court records say a Mississippi company that was the target of the largest U.S. workplace raid on illegal immigrants has reached a tentative settlement in a discrimination lawsuit by four black women who claimed the company gave preferential treatment to Latinos.

The lawsuit claimed one of the plaintiffs applied for a job at the Howard Industries electrical transformer plant in Laurel every three to six months beginning in 2002, but wasn’t offered a position until after the 2008 raid.

Immigration agents detained nearly 600 illegal immigrants during the raid. The company was fined $2.5 million in February 2011 for conspiring to violate immigration laws.

A filing Feb. 9 in U.S. District Court in Jackson said “the parties anticipate submitting an appropriate motion for settlement approval in the near future.”

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