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News Release

U.S. Department of Labor Recovers Back Wages for 55 Workers After Louisiana Seafood Processor Fails to Provide Required Sick Leave

MARKSVILLE, LA – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Shirley’s Crawfish Pad LLC and Crawfish Processing LLC – both owned by Shirley Bernard and co-located in Marksville, Louisiana – have paid $42,900 in back wages to 55 employees to resolve violations of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

WHD investigators found that the employer failed to provide paid sick leave to five Shirley’s Crawfish Pad and 50 Crawfish Processing employees after some of the workers tested positive for the coronavirus, and a healthcare provider ordered those workers and their co-workers to quarantine. Additionally, investigators found the seafood processor failed to maintain records required by the FFCRA.

The jointly owned companies agreed to pay the back wages, keep required records and comply with all applicable federal laws in the future.

“The Families First Coronavirus Response Act is critical to ensuring the safety of workers and the public. It provides a way for employers to meet their responsibility to protect workers, including those employed in the nation’s food supply system, and to take all necessary measures to ensure they are not working while potentially infected with the coronavirus and putting their co-workers and customers at risk,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Troy Mouton, in New Orleans, Louisiana. “Employers and employees who have questions about their obligations and rights under the law should contact their nearest Wage and Hour Division office or review the Division’s coronavirus resources online for more information.”

The FFCRA helps the U.S. combat and defeat the workplace effects of the coronavirus by giving tax credits to American businesses with fewer than 500 employees either to provide employees with paid leave for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members. Please visit WHD’s “Quick Benefits Tips” for information about how much leave workers may qualify to use, and the wages employers must pay. The law enables employers to provide paid leave reimbursed by tax credits, while at the same time ensuring that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus.

WHD continues to provide updated information on its website and through extensive outreach efforts to ensure that workers and employers have the information they need about the benefits and protections of this new law. The agency also provides additional information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to the coronavirus and its effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and on job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic.

For more information about the laws enforced by WHD, call 866-4US-WAGE, or visit 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 7, 2020
Release Number
20-2007-DAL
Contact: Juan Rodriguez
Contact: Chauntra Rideaux
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