Florida Stable Pays $65,807 in Wages, Penalties After Investigation By U.S. Department of Labor Finds H-2B Visa Program Violations
OCALA, FL – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Eddie Woods Stables – a horse training center in Ocala, Florida – has paid $26,514 in wages to 42 employees for violating labor provisions of the H-2B visa program. The company also paid a $39,293 civil penalty that the department accessed.
Investigators determined that Eddie Woods Stables failed to apply the offered terms and conditions of the job to all employees equally, advertising a stable attendant position at 40 hours per week to American applicants when the employer, in fact, intended the selected employees to work 48 hours per week. In addition, the employer advertised the job to U.S. workers at the locally prevailing wage rate, as required, but paid the selected foreign workers at a higher rate. Advertising the job at a lower rate that would actually be paid could produce a chilling effect on the number of U.S. applicants.
Investigators also found the employer failed to reimburse H-2B workers for the cost of their transportation from their home countries to the worksite by the halfway point of the contract period, as required.
“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,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Wildalí De Jesús, in Orlando, Florida. “We encourage employers to reach out to us with questions, and to use the wide variety of tools we offer to help them understand their responsibilities.”
The Department offers numerous resources to ensure employers have the tools they need to understand their responsibilities and to comply with federal law, such as online videos, confidential calls, or in-person visits to local WHD offices.
For more information about the H-2B Visa Program and other laws enforced by WHD, contact the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243), or visit the division’s website, which offers 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.