Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.
Date: Jan. 5, 2014
Contact: Leni Fortson or Joanna Hawkins
Phone: 215-861-5102 215-861-5101
U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Release Number: 14-2097-NEW (wh 15-001)
Monroeville, New Jersey, farm to pay $175,000 in back wages and penalties
Farm settles charges that it failed to hire US workers for available jobs
MONROEVILLE, N.J. -- Cassaday Farms LLC has agreed to pay a total of $117,130 in back wages and $57,870 in civil money penalties to settle charges leveled by the U.S. Department of Labor that the business unlawfully rejected 13 qualified U.S. workers, who applied for seasonal employment, and showed preferential treatment to H-2A workers, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Cassaday Farms is located at 401 Pine Tavern Road in Monroeville.
“By denying qualified U.S. workers employment, Cassaday Farms did what H-2A regulations help prevent,” said Charlene Rachor, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Southern New Jersey District Office. “This consent finding and order underscores our commitment to hold employers accountable when they attempt to circumvent the law to gain a competitive advantage.”
Wage and Hour investigators determined that, from March 2012 through December 2012, the farm failed to comply with INA recruitment requirements by unlawfully rejecting 13 U.S. workers from Puerto Rico, who were qualified and available for work. The agency also found that the farm offered terms and working conditions to U.S. workers that were less favorable than those offered to H-2A workers and did not maintain all required records.
In addition to the monetary settlement, the consent finding and order requires the farm to retain a third-party monitor for a three-year period. The monitor will review Cassaday Farm’s operations to ensure its compliance with the H-2A program, including:
- Recruitment of U.S. workers.
- Rates paid to H-2A workers.
- Rates paid to workers in corresponding employment.
- Accurate recording of and payment for all hours worked.
- Disclosure of work contracts to H-2A workers and workers in corresponding employment.
- Compliance with requirements for hours and earning statements.
- Deductions from wages or charges against wages.
- Reimbursement for transportation and travel expenses.
The INA authorizes the lawful admission of temporary, nonimmigrant workers, including H-2A workers, to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature. Any employer using H-2A workers must have initially attempted to find U.S. workers to fill these jobs. H-2A workers and domestic workers in corresponding employment must be paid special rates that vary by locality; receive housing and transportation to the job site if their employment requires an overnight stay away from their residence; and must be guaranteed an employment offer for hours equal to at least 75 percent of the work period specified in the contract.
Accessible and searchable information on enforcement activities by the department is available at http://ogesdw.dol.gov.
The Wage and Hour Division enforces labor laws to protect employees, employers and the American taxpayers; attempts to provide a level playing field for employers; and to ensure fair wages and safe working environments for employees. Such protections help to support ladders of opportunity, igniting economic engines to grow a strong middle class. When employees are denied their hard-earned income, the Wage and Hour Division is committed to ensuring that the money ends up in the hands of those who worked for it—money that will be spent on rent, transportation and to put food on the table. Since the beginning of 2009, the agency has concluded more than 140,000 investigations nationwide resulting in more than $1 billion dollars in back wages for more than 1.2 million workers.
The division’s Southern New Jersey District Office can be reached at 609-538-8310. Information on the FLSA and other wage laws is available by calling the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or by visiting http://www.dol.gov/whd.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7828 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America’s employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.