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PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) — A federal agency claims in a lawsuit filed this week that hundreds of people recruited in India to work for an oil rig construction company in Mississippi and Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina were forced into oppressive living arrangements and subjected to harsh language and discriminatory working conditions.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the lawsuit Wednesday against Signal International LLC in U.S. District Court in Gulfport, Miss., alleging discrimination based on race and place of birth. The lawsuit seeks class action status for about 500 Indians who came to the United States on the H-2B guest worker program to take jobs as welders and pipefitters in Pascagoula, Miss., and Orange, Texas.

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