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Court of appeals rules farm owners must test workers for COVID-19

Wind farm in Germany.
Jürgen via Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against a challenge to Michigan’s public health order requiring farm owners to test workers for COVID-19. In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of an emergency order from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services requiring coronavirus testing for all agricultural and food processing employees.

The ruling comes a few weeks after Michigan farm owners and employees filed a lawsuit arguing the order discriminates against Latinos. Diana Marin is with the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, an organization that filed a legal brief in support of the order. She says the decision is a win for farm workers in the state.

“We are hearing from a lot of workers who are thankful about it and they have all said that: this is good, to me this means that the state of Michigan cares about us enough to test us and they are putting money into getting us tested.”

In a statement, the Michigan Farm Bureau, which supported the lawsuit says the decision is disappointing.