Judge affirms Department of Labor findings that Georgia nursery favored 29 foreign workers over US workers; provided unsafe housing

Judge affirms Department of Labor findings that Georgia nursery favored 29 foreign workers over US workers; provided unsafe housing

Pure Attractiveness Farms Inc. pays $200K in penalties, back wages to solve H-2A violations

ATLANTA – An administrative regulation judge has entered a consent order following a U.S. Department of Labor investigation that decided a wholesale plant nursery in Miami gave overseas visa staff preferential remedy about U.S. personnel, and housed workers in unsafe and unhealthy disorders in Greensboro, Ga.

The action by the department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges counters Pure Elegance Farms Inc.’s endeavor to obstacle an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division, which determined many violations of the federal H-2A program that makes it possible for U.S. agricultural employers to quickly employ international staff to meet labor needs when U.S. employees are unable to fill positions.

Pure Elegance Farms grows additional than 1,000 various versions of crops in Greensboro and in Houston, and materials big suppliers, such as the Home Depot, and other impartial backyard garden centers and stores, as well as landscapers and concept parks in eight states, together with Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.

The division’s investigations located the employer:

  • Gave preferential procedure to H-2A program employees by necessitating U.S. candidates to have certain nursery do the job experience and to provide references, techniques not needed for international staff. The employer turned down 29 U.S. candidates as a end result, such as many who previously executed the identical occupation for Pure Elegance.
  • Unsuccessful to satisfy prerequisites of the task get by not stating genuine agreement phrases and ailments by failing to disclose the handle of the workers’ housing camp.
  • Neglected to offer two employees with copies of the Ga do the job deal.
  • Excluded work hrs and the federal tax identification range needed on shell out stubs.
  • Offered housing that violated protection and overall health demands. Investigators uncovered residing quarters with extreme debris, hearth alarms with no batteries, h2o and mildew harm, flooring with holes, unclean restrooms and foods storage, and a deficiency of suitable lighting.

To solve the H-2A violations, the department assessed Pure Natural beauty Farms $182,811 in penalties and essential the employer to enter into a consent judgment. The arrangement commits the employer to potential compliance with the H-2A provisions, such as oversight by an impartial, 3rd-social gathering marketing consultant to keep track of and audit all Pure Attractiveness H-2A labor contractor and H-2A pursuits for a interval of a few several years. The division also recovered $17,651 in again wages that investigators located was owed to 1 worker.

“Retailers and customers may possibly be troubled to understand how some agricultural employers handle the individuals whose hard work generates the goods they purchase,” claimed Wage and Hour Division Director Steven Salazar in Atlanta. “The federal H-2A method exists to help employers fill work opportunities in the agricultural industry when they just can’t find U.S. workers. Much too normally, our investigators learn violations and abuses, and locate U.S. workers  have been illegally bypassed in the recruitment and using the services of method.”

“In this circumstance, we also found the employer housed personnel in unsafe and unhealthy disorders, which is unacceptable, and which contributed to substantial penalties for the Pure Attractiveness Farms,” Salazar extra. “Clearly, the effects of violating the legislation can be really high-priced. We motivate businesses to speak to us with  questions and to request help to reduce infractions.”

The division delivers a number of compliance aid resources, including an agriculture compliance assistance toolkit, to supply employers the info they need to comply with the regulation.

For extra facts about the FLSA and other staff legal rights enforced by the division, contact the toll-absolutely free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with thoughts no matter of where they are from and the office can converse with callers in extra than 200 languages.  Assist be certain hours labored and spend are exact by downloading the department’s Android and iOS Timesheet App for cost-free, also accessible in Spanish.