Published: Oct 26, 2012 7:58 AM EDT
Updated: Oct 26, 2012 10:31 AM EDT


IMMOKALLEE, Fla. (AP) - A top Immokalee produce company faces a federal whistleblower lawsuit after an ex-employee alleged it hired illegal immigrants and offered him a five-figure sum to keep quiet.

The  the complaint was filed in federal court in Fort Myers. Brian Bishop contended that after 14 years with Lipman Produce, formerly Six L's, executives fired him as chief information officer two days after he emailed superiors over field worker hiring practices.

The complaint alleges that Bishop refused to sign a settlement of $84,000 in return for his silence after his termination.

The complaint alleges the executives being sued benefited from racketeering because their annual bonus and the company's profits "could not have been achieved with legal farming labor."

The company didn't comment.