U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Finds Florida Farm Labor Contractor Violated Guest Worker Visa Program Requirements
LAKE PLACID, FL – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Red Harvesting Inc. – a farm labor contractor based in Lake Placid, Florida – has paid $39,527 in wages to 119 employees for violating requirements of the H-2A visa program. The contractor also paid a $1,214 civil penalty, assessed by the Department.
WHD investigators determined that Red Harvesting Inc. failed to provide meals or kitchen facilities to employees, instead choosing to arrange for a caterer that the workers paid directly. In addition, Red Harvesting Inc. failed to meet safety and health requirements of the visa program by housing one employee at a hotel on mattresses laid on the floor despite a bed frame being available. WHD investigators also found Red Harvesting Inc. failed to meet transportation safety requirements when the reverse lights on one vehicle they used to transport workers failed to function.
“Agricultural employers that bring in temporary guest workers on H-2A visas are responsible for the required payment, housing and transportation of those individuals,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Daniel White, in Jacksonville, Florida. “We will continue to safeguard American jobs, level the playing field for law-abiding employers, and ensure that workers are paid the wages that they legally earned. We offer a wealth of compliance information readily available to assist employers and farm labor contractors in understanding their obligations under the law. ”
For more information about the H-2A visa program and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/whd.
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.