CALIFORNIA (KTXL) — The U. S. Department of Labor (DOL) said Monday that it recovered $255,114 in pack wages for 588 agricultural workers at five California farms.
The investigations also found that the farms failed to follow through with certain obligations to H-2A visa immigrant workers and imposed $54,617 total in fines. DOL said the farms did not provide meals or kitchen facilities; did not pay required inbound and outbound transportation and associated meal costs and allowed workers to be transported unsafely.
DOL also said that when farms did try to meet their obligations the results were sometimes not up to the required standards.
According to DOL, a prepared meal provided at SARC in Nipomo did not meet local health standards and caused some of the workers to become sick. DOL said SARC also did not provide personal protective equipment and supplies to workers.
Housing provided to workers by another farm, Togliatti Farms LLC in San Martin, did meet safety and health requirements DOL said.
“Employers that benefit from the H-2A guest worker program must be aware of all their responsibilities,” Wage and Hour Regional Administrator Ruben Rosalez said in a DOL press release. “Agricultural workers employed under the H-2A program must be paid as their contracts require and be provided with what they need to live and work safely while contributing critical labor to California’s agriculture industry.”
In addition to working conditions violations, the farms were found to have shortchanged the workers in terms of pay, not provided a contract at the time workers were hired, or not stated the terms and conditions of the job.
Back Wages Recovered and Penalties Imposed
- Adam Bros Farming
- $94,146 in wages recovered for 30 employees
- Fined $7,862 in penalties
- Boavista Farms in Santa Maria
- $43,297 in wages recovered for 28 employees
- Fined $5,361 in penalties
- Profresco Inc. in Santa Maria
- $50,789 in wages recovered for 471 employees
- Fined $7,505 in penalties
- SARC in Nipomo
- $34,996 in wages recovered for 42 employees
- Fined $13,160 in penalties
- Togliatti Farms LLC in San Martin
- $1885 in wages recovered for 17 employees
- Fined $20,729 in penalties