Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.
U.S. Labor Department secures a seven-year debarment against an unregistered farm labor contractor in Hawaii
Employer: Tomasa Rincon-Ibarra, as an individual, and doing business as Tomasita Farm Service
Site: Holualoa, Hawaii
Investigation findings: Wage and Hour Division investigators found that Tomasa Rincon-Ibarra, doing business as Tomasita Farm Service, violated the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act when she recruited and employed seasonal and migrant workers in 2011 to pick coffee in the Big Island of Hawaii without registering as a farm labor contractor with the U.S. Department of Labor. The investigation also showed that the contractor's disregard for the law deprived the workers of several key protections under MSPA, including the requirement to pay at least minimum wage, provide workers with wage statements, and adequately insure vehicles used to transport workers to and from the jobsite.
Resolution: Under the terms of a consent judgment entered by the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, Rincon-Ibarra is debarred for seven years from registering as a farm labor contractor or engaging in any farm labor contractor activities, including recruiting, soliciting, hiring, employing, furnishing or transporting any migrant or seasonal agricultural worker. This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division in Honolulu, and litigated by the department's Regional Solicitor's office.
Quote: "There are serious consequences for employers engaged in unregistered farm labor contracting activities that undermine basic and fundamental worker rights," said Terence Trotter, the director of the Wage and Hour Division's district office in Honolulu. "This unprecedented judgment puts all Hawaii agricultural growers on notice that they cannot use the services of unregistered farm labor contractors and that they should always ask a farm labor contractor for its unexpired 'USDOL Registration card' before entering into agreements to provide and furnish workers."
Information: The Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act protects migrant and seasonal agricultural workers by establishing employment standards related to wages, housing, transportation, disclosures and recordkeeping. The MSPA also requires farm labor contractors to register with the U.S. Department of Labor. For more general information on the MSPA, please see the Employment Law Guide or the Wage and Hour Division's fact sheet on MSPA.
To operate legally as farm labor contractors, individuals and companies must register with the U.S. Department of Labor. There are special registration requirements for farm labor contractors that intend to house, transport, or drive a migrant or seasonal agricultural worker. Application materials and instructions can be found online.
For more information about federal wage laws administered by the Wage and Hour Division, or to file a complaint, call the agency's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). All services are free and confidential. Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.
- Read this news release in Spanish.