News Release

Court orders holiday wreaths producer to pay $1.8M in back wages, damages to 700 workers; wage investigation began after van crash injured workers

Continental Floral Greens serves Costco, Publix, Target, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Wegmans

SEATTLE – A federal court has ordered a producer of Christmas wreaths and seasonal greens for major retailers — including Costco, Publix, Target, Trader Joe’s, Walmart and Wegmans — to pay $1.85 million in back wages and damages to nearly 700 workers after the U.S. Department of Labor found the employer failed to pay required overtime wages and violated migrant and seasonal workers’ rights.

The department’s Wage and Hour Division determined that Continental Floral Greens denied hundreds of workers their required overtime pay for hours over 40 in a workweek, a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Division investigators also found the Shelton company submitted, under penalty of perjury, fraudulent information on job orders about wages, housing and transportation to bring workers to the U.S., a violation of the H-2B worker program. Continental Floral Greens employs temporary workers from El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico.

The federal H-2B program permits businesses to employ temporary visa workers and provides protections for similarly employed U.S. workers. 

The division’s investigation also identified violations of the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act related to wages, housing, transportation, disclosures and recordkeeping. Specifically, Continental Floral Greens failed to inform workers of employment conditions, furnish complete wage statements, pay wages when due, ensure safe and healthy housing, or provide temporary workers with safe transportation. 

The investigation was opened after a van transporting 14 migrant workers crashed in November 2022 in Cowlitz County, and four Salvadoran workers suffered serious injuries and were taken to a Longview hospital. Investigators determined the Continental Floral Greens’ employee driving the van lacked required certification to operate the vehicle. After the accident, the Washington State Patrol charged the driver for negligent driving. Investigators also discovered that several workers were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the accident.

On March 26, 2024, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Tacoma entered a consent judgment and order requiring the employer to pay $888,000 in back wages and $888,000 in liquidated damages to hundreds of vulnerable workers due to the FLSA violations. The court also ordered the Continental Floral Greens to pay workers $74,000 in additional back wages to the workers due to MSPA violations, and $40,000 in penalties to the department.  

“The Wage and Hour Division is committed to holding employers accountable so that vulnerable workers come home safe and properly compensated at the end of every day,” explained Wage and Hour Division District Director Thomas Silva in Seattle. “We will continue using every tool at our disposal to ensure U.S. workers and H-2B workers receive the highest protections to which they are entitled, including rights to overtime pay.” 

“Federal law requires employers hiring workers from outside the U.S. on temporary non-agricultural visas to ensure safe working conditions and pay the legal prevailing wage, including overtime. Employers must also accurately represent the terms and conditions of those jobs so that U.S. workers have a full and fair opportunity to work those jobs. Continental Floral failed on all counts,” added Regional Solicitor of Labor Marc Pilotin in San Francisco. 

Continental Floral Greens operates eight farms, production and distribution facilities, and sales and management offices in California, Florida, North Carolina, Oregon and Washington. The company ships products to major retailers nationwide and internationally.

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. Employers and workers can call division staff confidentially with questions, regardless of where they are from, and the division can speak with callers in more than 200 languages through the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Download the agency’s new, free Timesheet App for Android and iOS devices, available in English and Spanish, to help track work hours and pay.

Julie A. Su, Acting Secretary of Labor, U.S. Department of Labor vs Continental Floral LLC et al.

Case No. 3:24-cv-05220


Wage and Hour Division
April 4, 2024
Release Number
Media Contact: Michael Petersen
Media Contact: Jose Carnevali
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