Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
Florida farm labor contractor in North Carolina suspended for repeat violations following US Department of Labor investigation
Employer assessed nearly $8,000 in civil money penalties
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The U.S. Department of Labor has suspended the certification of farm labor contractor Henry Robinson Jr., of Tampa, Fla., following an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division that found repeat violations, including failing to register with the department his employees who drove workers from their housing to the fields, as required by the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act. During the investigation, the department received a report of an alleged assault with a weapon against a migrant worker by one of the unregistered farm labor contractor employees. In addition to suspending the contractor’s certification, the department also assessed $7,975 in civil money penalties against Robinson for the repeat violations.
“Farm Labor Contractors have a significant responsibility to ensure a safe working environment for migrant and seasonal agricultural workers,” said Richard Blaylock, district director in North Carolina for the Wage and Hour Division. “Such disregard for providing basic worker protections will not be tolerated by the department. Swift and decisive action has been taken to prevent future violations from occurring under management of this farm labor crew leader.”
In addition to employing unregistered farm labor contractor employees, investigators found that Robinson failed to disclose basic written working conditions to migrant workers, failed to maintain employee records, failed to provide notice of housing conditions and failed to have the housing inspected by the North Carolina Department of Labor, Agriculture Safety and Health Bureau. Several serious housing violations were discovered, including housing not being structurally sound, wiring and lighting fixtures in an unsafe condition, failure to provide a fire extinguisher and failure to provide a first aid kit. The employer also failed to display the MSPA employee rights poster at the work site.
Farm labor contracting businesses are required to register with the department prior to performing any farm labor contracting work, including recruiting, soliciting, hiring, employing, furnishing and transporting migrant and seasonal agricultural workers. Additionally, there are special registration requirements for farm labor contractors who intend to house or transport a migrant or seasonal agricultural worker.
A list of farm labor contractors registered with the department can be found at http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/statutes/FLCList.htm. The division also maintains a list of individuals and corporations who are ineligible to operate as farm labor contractors. That list is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/statutes/mspa_debar.htm.
The Wage and Hour Division’s North Carolina District Office may be contacted at 919-790-2741. For more information on MSPA and other federal laws administered by the Wage and Hour Division, call its toll-free helpline at 1-866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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