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News Brief

Imperial County farmworkers to receive $13K in back pay

US Labor Department finds employer failed to pay workers for time they were required to spend waiting for crops to thaw

Employer: Amigo Farms, Inc.

Sites:4245 East 32nd St.
Yuma, Arizona

Investigation findings: Investigators from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that Amigo Farms, Inc. failed to pay lettuce pickers at fields in Winterhaven, California, for time spent on the job waiting for ice to melt off the produce in the winter months. At times, the thaw could take 1 to 3 hours per day.

Resolution: Amigo Farms, Inc. will pay $13,000 in unpaid wages to 32 workers. The employer will also pay $1,400 in civil penalties and change its recordkeeping practices.

Quote: “We have a growing concern over the illegal practice of failing to pay workers for time spent waiting while they’re on the clock,” said Rodolfo Cortez, director of the Wage and Hour Division office in San Diego. “Employers have a responsibility to know what counts as work time, and to pay their workers accordingly. The Wage and Hour Division has provided annual training to farmers in Southeastern California and in parts of Arizona, primarily in Spanish, to help them understand their responsibilities. Employers should have a contingency plan during inclement weather so workers are not left standing in the cold and not being paid as required.”

Information: Amigo Farms owns and harvests a total of 6,517 acres primarily in lettuce and cabbage, supplying lettuce and leafy greens to consumer brands such as Taylor Farms, Dole, Fresh Ex, Ready Pack, True Leaf and Green Gate. For more information about federal wage laws administered by the Wage and Hour Division, call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.

Background: The Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act requires farm labor contractors, agricultural employers and agricultural associations that employ any migrant or seasonal agricultural worker to pay the minimum wage, promised wage, and pay for all hours worked in accordance with federal labor laws.

Read this news brief in Spanish

Agency
Wage and Hour Division
Date
December 20, 2016
Release Number
16-1976-SAN
Contact: Jose Carnevali
Contact: Leo Kay
Phone Number