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Press Releases

U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Release Number: 10-738-ATL (319)

Date: 

June 3, 2010

Contact: 

Michael D’Aquino, Michael Wald

Phone: 

404-562-2076, 404-562-2078

US Department of Labor to North Carolina agricultural workers: ‘Young workers have rights, and we can help’


RALEIGH, N.C. -- After finding violations of child labor laws during last year’s blueberry harvest, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division is reminding agricultural workers, and especially the youngest workers, in North Carolina of their rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.

As part of the department’s “We Can Help” campaign, Wage and Hour Division investigators have been meeting with farm groups, community organizations and state and county agencies to inform employers of their obligations and employees of their rights. The division also will be conducting investigations in North Carolina to ensure that employers are following federal law.

“The Labor Department is committed to ensuring that agricultural employers understand their responsibilities and agricultural workers understand their rights and receive the protections provided by federal law,” said Richard Blaylock, the Wage and Hour Division’s district director in Raleigh.

A fact sheet available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/childlabor102.pdf provides information about employment of minors to perform agricultural work.

Virtually all employees engaged in agriculture are covered by federal law in that they produce goods for interstate commerce. Most agricultural employers, agricultural associations and farm labor contractors are subject to the MSPA, which protects migrant and seasonal agricultural workers by establishing employment standards related to wages, housing, transportation, disclosures and recordkeeping. The MSPA also requires farm labor contractors to register with the U.S. Department of Labor.

Information on the rules concerning child labor and agricultural workers is available by contacting the Wage and Hour Division’s Raleigh District Office at 4407 Somerset Road, Suite 260 or 919-790-2742, or by contacting the division’s Charlotte, N.C., office at 800 Briar Creek Road, Suite CC-412 or 704-749-3360.

For more information, in English or Spanish, about the FLSA and MSPA, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov/whd.

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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.