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News Release

Michigan Landscaping Company Pays $97,286 in Back Wages And $48,241 in Penalties for Violations of H-2B Visa Program

TROY, MI – The U.S. Department of Labor has found Twin Pines Landscaping Inc. – based in Troy, Michigan – in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the labor provisions of the H-2B temporary visa program. An investigation by the Department's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) found the landscaping company failed to pay overtime, failed to pay required prevailing wages, and offered more favorable employment terms to temporary foreign employees than to U.S. workers.

Specifically, WHD investigators found the landscaping company violated H-2B requirements when it:

  • Paid landscape laborers flat weekly salaries that failed to cover all of the hours that they worked at the required prevailing wage;
  • Failed to comply with the provision prohibiting preferential treatment of H-2B employees by offering foreign employees free housing, which was not advertised on the job order when recruiting U.S. workers; and
  • Failed to provide accurate earning statements.

The employer violated FLSA overtime requirements when it paid employees flat weekly salaries without regard to the number of hours they had actually worked. This practice resulted in violations when employees worked more than 40 hours in a workweek but the employer failed to pay overtime. 

Twin Pines paid 15 H-2B landscape laborers $97,286 in back wages to resolve the violations. In addition to the back wages, WHD assessed the employer $48,241 in civil money penalties.

"Any employer seeking to hire H-2B guest workers must abide by all of the program's requirements," said Wage and Hour Division District Director Timolin Mitchell, in Detroit, Michigan. "The Wage and Hour Division is committed to safeguarding American jobs, leveling the playing field for law-abiding employers and protecting vulnerable workers from being paid less than they are legally owed."

For more information about the FLSA, and other laws enforced by WHD, contact the Division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/whd, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the Division.

WHD's mission is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation's workforce. WHD enforces federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes. Additionally, WHD administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act, and other statutes applicable to federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

Agency
Wage and Hour Division
Date
August 27, 2019
Release Number
19-1457-CHI
Contact: Scott Allen
Phone Number
Contact: Rhonda Burke
Phone Number
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