Colorado Agricultural Worker Advocates Continue Fight to Uphold State’s Workers’ Rights in Latest Intervention

For Immediate Release: September 14, 2023

Media Contact: Shane Tan

On Thursday, September 14, Colorado Legal Services and an anonymous farmworker filed a motion to intervene in a new lawsuit challenging the 2021 state law that protects agricultural workers’ right to access essential services.

This most recent case follows a previous battle last year, in which several agricultural businesses filed a lawsuit challenging provisions in the 2021 law that ensures farmworkers, who spend nearly every day of the week, working long hours in the hot Colorado sun, are able to access to key service providers—such as healthcare workers, attorneys, government officials, and clergy. The agribusinesses argued that the provisions violated their right to exclude individuals from their land. In a victory for the state’s agricultural workers, the agribusinesses dismissed their case three months later, ensuring service providers could continue their critical work.

Now the Colorado Livestock Association filed a near-identical suit in Colorado District Court under the takings clauses of the U.S. Constitution and Colorado Constitution, challenging the provision that prohibits agricultural employers from “interfer[ing]” with their workers’ “reasonable access to key service providers at any location during any time in which the agricultural worker is not performing compensable work or during paid or unpaid rest and meal breaks,” as well as any time the worker is receiving healthcare services. Today’s motion to intervene seeks to defend this important provision that ensures agricultural workers’ access to fundamental services like healthcare, education, and legal help.

“Today’s intervention underscores the ongoing importance of protecting farmworkers’ access to vital services, which is clearly protected under the law,” said Jenifer Rodriguez, managing attorney of the Colorado Legal Services Migrant Farm Worker Division. “Just like last year’s challenge, this is  a baseless attempt to undermine important laws that safeguard workers’ rights. And just like last year, we believe this lawsuit will be dismissed.”

“Agricultural workers are some of the most vulnerable, exploited, and isolated in Colorado, working long hours, exposed to the elements, and often dependent on their employers for housing and transportation,” said Kelsey Eberly of FarmSTAND. “Yet agribusinesses have sought to strip workers of even the minimal protections the new law provides—of their ability to see a community health worker or attorney—in effect claiming a constitutional right to interfere with their workers’ access to these vital services. We’re stepping in again to defend Colorado agricultural workers’ hard-won rights.”

Colorado Legal Services is represented by FarmSTAND, Towards Justice, and Farmworker Justice. The anonymous farmworker is represented by Colorado Legal Services.


Colorado Legal Services seeks to provide meaningful access to high quality, civil legal services in the pursuit of justice for low-income persons and vulnerable populations in Colorado. CLS has thirteen offices across the state and several statewide projects including its Migrant Farm Worker Division.

FarmSTAND is the only legal project in the country that is focused solely on dismantling the structures that enable the consolidation of corporate power and extractive practices in our food system and supporting a vision of animal agriculture that is regenerative, humane, and owned by independent farmers. It envisions a future where our food chain results in healthy, empowered communities and sustainable livelihoods and a just animal agriculture system that is transparent and accountable to people, not profit.

Towards Justice is a Colorado-based nonprofit legal organization that advocates for and collaborates with workers and workers’ organizations to build worker power and advance economic justice.

Farmworker Justice is a nonprofit organization that seeks to empower migrant and seasonal farmworkers to improve their living and working conditions, immigration status, health, occupational safety, and access to justice.


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