The United States Department of Labor got three citrus farm labor contractors to pay $76,000 in back wages in Florida. The DOL Wage and Labor Division made the announcement on Wednesday, January 12th. In a press release, the DOL said the three Tampa contractors failed to comply with the federal H-2A agricultural work visa program requirement, owing $72,609 in total wages.
The DOL found that Benjamin M. Ramirez Harvesting Inc., AO Harvesting, and Gustavo Cisneros Harvesting Inc. failed to provide H-2A employees with at least three-quarters of the work hours guaranteed on their work contracts. In addition, the contractors failed to pay the workers the salary required by law under the program.
The H-2A temporary agricultural problems allow agricultural employers to legally bring nonimmigrant foreign workers to the U.S. to perform temporary or seasonal agricultural work when domestic workers are in short supply. The investigators found that Benjamin M. Ramirez Harvesting owed about $30,915 in back wages to 31 employees.
The company was assessed $1,429 as a civil penalty for the violation. AO Harvesting owed $37,005 in back wages to 38 employees and was assessed $1,429 for the violation. Gustavo Cisneros Harvesting failed to pay back wages in Florida and did not reimburse workers for inbound transportation costs. The DOL asked the company to pay $4,688 to 13 employees affected and pay a $1,250 civil penalty.
Violations like this are common in the citrus labor industry. Asides from denied wages, Florida workers also get denied workers’ compensation benefits for work-related injuries and illnesses. If this happens to you, you should take legal action.
Our Florida work comp lawyers at Work injury Rights can help you. Contact us today for a free case review.