Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
PHOENIX -- Repeat offender Arizona farm labor contractor Armando Rivas has been ordered to pay more than $30,000 in back wages and penalties after U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigators in Phoenix discovered that Rivas employed 10- and 11-year-olds in the fields, knowingly falsified records and failed to fully pay employees for all hours worked.
Rivas, based in Bowie, Ariz., will pay more than $11,000 in back wages and nearly $20,000 in combined penalties for violating child labor, migrant farmworker and wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act during Arizona’s fall chili harvest.
“There is no good reason for having young children working in the fields,” said George Friday Jr., regional administrator in San Francisco, Calif., for the Wage and Hour Division. “Agricultural employment is particularly dangerous for children. We want to do everything we can to ensure that young people have safe and positive work experiences.”
Rivas has been ordered to pay $3,272 in child labor penalties for employing three minors, $11,391 in back wages to 31 workers, and $12,788 in penalties for the failure to properly pay wages. Rivas also has been ordered to pay $3,850 in penalties for failing to disclose worker conditions, post a legally required poster at the worksite, provide wage statements and pay wages when due. Additionally, investigators found Rivas failed to maintain and provide accurate records, and knowingly falsified records, showing a single name for multiple employees in the records. Rivas is a repeat violator; Labor Department investigators found similar violations during a 2007 investigation.
The Wage and Hour Division also has assessed civil money penalties against Randy Hass Farms in Wilcox, Ariz., for the child labor violations, and $2,662 in MSPA penalties after determining that Randy Hass Farms, the agricultural employer, was jointly responsible for complying with the applicable laws at the time the violations occurred.
Under FLSA, individuals ages 12 to 14 may work outside of school hours in agricultural jobs not declared hazardous either with written parental consent, or on the same farm where their parents are employed. Individuals under age 11 may work outside of school hours in nonhazardous jobs with either parental consent or alongside a parent, but only on very small farms exempt from FLSA’s minimum wage requirements.
For more information about the FLSA, please call the Wage and Hour Division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or contact the division's Phoenix office at 602-514-7100. Information is also available at www.dol.gov/whd.
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