About 350 Filipino teachers who worked in the East Baton Rouge, Jefferson and other school systems are set to get around $2,200 each from a class action lawsuit, a teacher's union announced Wednesday.
The legal challenges, which began in 2009, charged that the teachers were virtually held hostage by a California placement agency.
Those targeted by the teachers were Universal Placement International and its principal, Lourdes "Lulu" Navarro.
The Louisiana Federation of Teachers and others said the teachers were promised jobs that were not available, charged $5,000 each by Navarro to obtain a job and ordered to pay 10 percent of their second-year salary to the placement firm.
"This is the bittersweet ending to a sad story of exploitation," LFT President Larry Carter said in a statement.
"While these teachers can never be properly compensated for their suffering, we have at least vindicated the rule of law and sent a strong message to those who would profit from such human trafficking," Carter said.
Carter's predecessor Steve Monaghan called treatment of the teachers "disgusting" and "un-American" when the complaints were outlined eight years ago.
Company officials could not be reached for comment.
LFT leaders said in 2009 that up to 160 of the teachers worked in the East Baton Rouge Parish school system.
The district had hired about 170 Filipino teachers, and some were fired for problems with classroom management and language instruction.
Others worked in the Jefferson and Caddo parishes school systems and the Recovery School District.
The state Department of Education paid Navarro $47,500 to recruit 25 teachers for the RSD, according to the announcement.
The teachers also worked in Avoyelles and other school districts.
Most are women and they were recruited to teach math, science and special education.
Many are LFT members.
The LFT said the Louisiana Workforce Commission in 2010 ordered the firm and Navarro to pay the teachers $1.8 million, a $500 fine and $7,500 in attorney fees.
The LFT and its parent, the American Federation of Teachers, joined with the Southern Poverty Law Center pursued the ruling, which was eventually upheld by 19th Judicial District Court Judge Janice Clark.