News Release

US Department of Labor recovers $479K in back wages for workers with temporary visas, US workers at Missouri vegetable farm

Wage and Hour Division investigation assessed $38K in civil money penalties

PARK HILLS, MO – A Park Hills vegetable farming and packing operation will pay $479,983 in back wages to 208 workers, following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.

In a consent order and judgment entered in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri on March 12, 2024, and an H-2A settlement agreement executed on Dec. 29, 2023, Missouri Vegetable Farm LLC, and its owners Benjy Proffer and Robert Proffer, will pay Fair Labor Standards Act back wages of $394,159 to 102 H-2A temporary visa workers and 105 U.S. workers, as well as H-2A back wages of $85,824 to 22 “corresponding” U.S. workers. The company was also assessed civil money penalties of $38,289 for its H-2A violations

This action follows an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division that found Missouri Vegetable Farm often failed to compensate workers at time and one-half the adverse effect wage rate for the specific agricultural task being performed when they worked over 40 hours in a workweek. The company also often failed to combine hours employees worked in both farming and packaging operations and to pay the required wage rate. The investigation reviewed pay records from May 1, 2021 through Dec. 15, 2021.

“Employers must understand the wage requirements for the workers they employ. When seeking approval to hire temporary visa workers, employers agree to specific terms for pay rates, job tasks and other compensation and must also pay non-visa employees at least the same rate,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Noah Lee in St. Louis. “The wages recovered for these workers will have a significant impact on their lives. Many of them may have not understood their rights to overtime pay.”

The H-2A temporary agricultural program allows agricultural employers to bring nonimmigrant foreign workers to the U.S. to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature. 

Missouri Vegetable Farm LLC is part of the Proffer Company, a family-owned and operated full-line wholesale produce company that farms in Missouri and Arkansas.

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 and how to file an online complaint. For confidential compliance assistance, employees and employers can call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243), regardless of where they are from. The department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages.

Download the agency’s new Timesheet App for free on iOS and Android devices in English or Spanish to ensure hours and pay are accurate.

U.S. Department of Labor V. Missouri Vegetable Farm LLC, Benjy Proffer, Robert Proffer

Civil Action No. 4:24-cv-00021-JAR

Wage and Hour Division
March 13, 2024
Release Number
Media Contact: Scott Allen
Phone Number
Media Contact: Rhonda Burke
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