Sheepherder sues Idaho rancher, says he was unpaid for years - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Sheepherder sues Idaho rancher, says he was unpaid for years

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By REBECCA BOONE
Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - A former sheepherder says he was forced to work without pay, transportation and barely enough food at a remote Idaho ranch for years. The sheep rancher, meanwhile, says his former employee was semi-retired and lived and ate for free at the ranch, with a personal driver just a phone call away.

Idaho Legal Aid filed a lawsuit in Boise's U.S. District Court last month on behalf of the sheepherder, a permanent legal resident from the Basque region of Spain named Sabino Leibar (sah-BEE-no LAY-bar). But the case highlights the lack of direct oversight for agricultural businesses that rely on foreign workers.

According to the lawsuit, Leibar started working for John Anchustegui (an-SHOOS-tuh-gee) in 1981 near the tiny village of Bruneau in the southwestern corner of the state.

Leibar contends Anchustegui stopped paying him regularly in 2009, and that he is now owed nearly $264,000 in back wages. Anchustegui has denied those allegations.

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