Judge Rejects Challenge to Colorado Law Guaranteeing Farmworker Access to Essential Services

Judge Rejects Challenge to Colorado Law Guaranteeing Farmworker Access to Essential Services

Late Friday, a Colorado judge rejected a legal challenge to a state law that ensures that farmworkers can access essential services like doctors, teachers, clergy members, community aid workers, and attorneys. Judge Martin F. Egelhoff’s ruling dismissed the Colorado Livestock Association’s suit that sought to strike down the law, finding that the industry group did not have standing.

Agricultural workers tend to be isolated and work long hours. Many live in employer-owned housing or migrant labor camps on or near the farm or range where they work, far from nearby towns or services. This makes it difficult for farmworkers to access essential service providers, creating obstacles to a basic quality of life.  

Colorado Legal Services and an anonymous farmworker intervened in the suit, joining the state in defense of the law. FarmSTAND, Towards Justice and Farmworker Justice represent Colorado Legal Services in the case, and Colorado Legal Services represents the farmworker.

“The court’s dismissal Friday of a lawsuit by an agribusiness group affirms that farmworkers in Colorado have the right to access essential services like healthcare, legal services, and education. Colorado Legal Services is proud to continue to provide essential services to agricultural workers,” said Jenifer Rodriguez, Managing Attorney of the Migrant Farm Worker Division of Colorado Legal Services.

“Friday’s ruling dismissing the challenge to Colorado’s Agricultural Workers’ Rights law is a victory for human decency, and for the health and well-being of farmworkers in the state. It is also a rebuke to corporate agribusiness attempts to elevate an employer’s private property rights above a worker’s right to vital services,” said Kelsey Eberly, Senior Staff Attorney at FarmSTAND, who represents Colorado Legal Services in the case.

For more on the case, visit FarmSTAND’s case page.

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