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News Release

U.S. Department of Labor Recovers $172,264 in Back Wages For Peanut Industry Workers in New Mexico and Texas

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) at five peanut industry employers in Texas and New Mexico resulted in the recovery of $172,264 in back wages for 127 employees to remedy violations of the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

WHD found overtime violations resulting from employers improperly rounding down the number of hours employees worked; paying straight time rates for hours beyond 40 in a workweek to overtime-eligible workers; incorrectly classifying employees as exempt from overtime and consequently failing to pay them overtime; and failing to count short rest breaks as work time, resulting in the employer failing to pay employees for all of the hours that they worked. Additionally, some of the employers failed to maintain accurate timekeeping records as required under the FLSA.

“Employers in all industries, including agriculture, must understand and comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act, and must pay their workers all the wages they have legally earned,” said Wage and Hour District Director Evelyn Sanchez in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “Our work ensures workers receive those wages, leveling the playing field for employers who play by the rules. We encourage workers and employers alike to use the tools we offer to educate themselves about their rights and responsibilities, and to contact us with questions.”

The following employers were included in the investigations:

  • Algrano Peanut Shelling LLC locations in Portales, New Mexico, and Bledsoe, Texas;
  • All Good Peanut Co. Inc. in Seminole, Texas;
  • Birdsong Corp. in Brownfield, Texas; 
  • Severn Peanut Co. Inc. in. Portales, New Mexico; and
  • Trico Peanut LLC in Seagraves, Texas.                                                                         

If you think you may be owed back wages you can visit the Workers Owed Wages page to search WHD’s database of wages collected by the agency and waiting to be claimed.

For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the 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/agencies/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 paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave requirements of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, 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
December 3, 2020
Release Number
20-1974-DAL
Contact: Juan Rodriguez
Contact: Chauntra Rideaux
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