US Department of Labor recovers $44K after investigation finds Idaho farms underpaid migrant farmworkers, provided substandard housing
Employer: Wooden Shoe Farms
Investigation site: 673 North 825 West
Blackfoot, ID 83221
Investigation findings: U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigators found Wooden Shoe Farms underpaid migrant farm workers, and provided unsafe and unhealthy housing with insufficient smoke detectors, inadequate ventilation and a lack of first-aid kits. The employer also failed to pay workers for all inbound and outbound transportation costs from their home countries, did not keep records for 3 years and neglected to provide the work contract to all workers and pay the required rates of pay. These failures violated multiple requirements of the H-2A agricultural worker program. In addition, investigators learned that Wooden Shoe Farms allowed a 15-year-old to operate a tractor, a child labor violation.
Back Wages Recovered: $44,652 in back wages for 28 farmworkers
Civil Money Penalties Assessed: $19,895 in penalties
Quote: “Farmworkers provide essential labor that puts food on millions of American tables and the U.S. Department of Labor will protect their rights vigorously, regardless of their native homes,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Carrie Aguilar in Portland, Oregon. “The denial of basic living conditions for these workers violates provisions of the H-2A agricultural worker program and we will hold employers like Wooden Shoe Farms accountable for violations like those found in this case.”
Background: Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, and its search tool if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. Help ensure hours worked and pay are accurate by downloading the department’s Android Timesheet App for free.