A recent case highlights what the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division states is a message to employers regarding H-2A program abuses. The WHD found that an employer violated the program when it underpaid workers, provided substandard living conditions, and threatened to terminate the work contracts of workers if they refused to accept wages at lower rates than legally required under the program.
The farm failed to provide its workers with at least 75% of the work hours guaranteed in their contracts, did not reimburse workers for inbound transportation costs, and shortchanged 69 domestic workers hired with the H-2A workers, according to the WHD. The DOL found that Jorgensen Management owed $159,256 in unpaid wages and $25,430 in civil penalties. In announcing its findings, the DOL stated that the outcome of the investigation is a strong message to employers that the WHD will “not tolerate abuses of the H-2A program and will protect the rights of all people working in the U.S.”
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