Washington Fruit Grower to Pay $78,000 in Back Wages and Penalties for Hiring and Pay Violations in U.S. Department of Labor Settlement
SEATTLE, WA – The U.S. Department of Labor has reached a settlement with a Washington tree fruit grower to resolve violations of the H-2A non-immigrant visa program under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The settlement requires Tonasket-based Northwestern LLC to pay $60,000 in back wages to 112 employees, and an additional $18,000 in penalties to the Department.
Northwestern Orchards LLC failed to hire a qualified U.S. applicant, in violation of H-2A requirements. The grower also failed to pay prevailing H-2A contractual wages to the workers covered under the temporary employment certification application.
“Any employer seeking H-2A workers must be ready and willing to hire qualified U.S. applicants,” said the Department’s Wage and Hour Division District Director Jeanette Aranda, in Seattle. “This case demonstrates our commitment to safeguard American jobs, level the playing field for law-abiding employers, and protect vulnerable workers from being paid less than they are legally owed or otherwise working under substandard conditions.”
The Division’s Seattle District Office conducted the investigation. Attorney Cheryl Adams of the San Francisco Regional Office of the Solicitor litigated the case for the Division. For more information about the H-2A program, contact the Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.