US Department of Labor recovers $15K for 40 guest workers, finds Iota crawfish processor failed to pay legally required wages
IOTA, LA – Each year, Louisiana’s crawfish industry depends on temporary foreign workers who work alongside U.S. workers, from January to July, doing the many jobs needed to ensure a good harvest. They repair and build traps, flood fields, lay and recover traps from fields, repair levees and pipes, and drain and clean equipment and fields, all to supply 95 percent of the small crustaceans that Americans consume annually.
Following a U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation, D&G Frey Crawfish LLC, which operates as Gerard Frey Farms Inc. in Iota, has paid $15,723 in back wages after the division found the employer failed to pay the required hourly rate to the H-2A temporary guest workers. Investigators determined D&G Frey paid workers $10 per hour for any hours they worked beyond 40 in a work week as opposed to the required rate of $11.33 per hour. The employer also failed to comply with pay statement requirements by not including the worker’s hourly rate, the number of actual hours worked and other information on workers’ earnings statements. In addition to the back wages paid, D&G Frey paid $6,357 in civil money penalties assessed by the division.
“Employers must pay workers all the wages they earn. This is particularly critical for low-wage, front-line workers supporting the nation’s food supply as we continue to recover from the pandemic,” said Wage and Hour District Director Troy Mouton in New Orleans. “The crawfish industry is a valued contributor to the Bayou State’s economy, and those who help bring the product to market must be paid as the law requires. This investigation’s outcome should remind other employers to review their pay practices to ensure they comply with the law.”
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 and confidential calls to local Wage and Hour Division offices.
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, and use its search tool if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.