Florida employer to pay $165K in back wages, $75K in penalties for shorting H-2A workers’ wages, subjecting them to unsanitary living conditions
KANSAS CITY, MO – After long days spent toiling in fields under a hot Missouri sun, immigrant workers returned to what was once a county jail where their employer housed them in unsanitary living conditions and added to their misery by failing to pay them the wages they earned under their contract.
Under terms of a settlement agreement signed by the U.S. Department of Labor and Marin J. Corp of Avon Park, Florida, on Feb. 23, 2022, Marin J. has agreed to pay $165,805 in back wages to 85 workers and a penalty of $75,000 for failing to provide meals, pay the required wage rate and charging workers to obtain employment in violation of the Immigrant and Naturalization Act and requirements of the H-2A visa program.
“Investigators found Marin J. Corp provided these workers with living quarters that were woefully inadequate and violated basic human decency, and violated specific guidelines of the H-2A program, including charging workers to obtain employment,” said Wage and Hour Regional Administrator Michael Lazzeri in Chicago. “While it’s taken several years to settle this matter, the Department of Labor will pursue violators like Marin J. Corp doggedly to uphold the law and ensure the safety of vulnerable workers, and recover the rightful wages of workers cheated by their employers.”
In July 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor filed a complaint and a motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri to enjoin Marin J. Corp. from violating its obligations concerning its employment and housing of H-2A temporary agriculture workers under the H-2A visa program. The company complied with housing requirements following the court’s issuance of the temporary restraining order.
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Calls can be answered in more than 200 languages, regardless of immigration status. Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.