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

Pure Beauty Farms Inc. pays $200K in penalties, back wages to take care of H-2A violations

ATLANTA – An administrative law choose has entered a consent purchase subsequent a U.S. Office of Labor investigation that established a wholesale plant nursery in Miami gave international visa workers preferential remedy in excess of U.S. personnel, and housed personnel in unharmless and harmful circumstances in Greensboro, Ga.

The action by the department’s Office environment of Administrative Regulation Judges counters Pure Attractiveness Farms Inc.’s attempt to obstacle an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division, which determined various violations of the federal H-2A application that will allow U.S. agricultural employers to quickly seek the services of international workers to satisfy labor requires when U.S. staff simply cannot fill positions.

Pure Splendor Farms grows more than 1,000 distinct versions of vegetation in Greensboro and in Houston, and provides huge suppliers, this sort of as the Residence Depot, and other independent yard centers and shops, as nicely as landscapers and theme parks in 8 states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.

The division’s investigations observed the employer:

  • Gave preferential treatment to H-2A method workers by demanding U.S. candidates to have specified nursery do the job encounter and to give references, ways not needed for foreign personnel. The employer turned down 29 U.S. applicants as a end result, together with a number of who formerly executed the identical occupation for Pure Natural beauty.
  • Failed to fulfill prerequisites of the occupation buy by not stating precise deal phrases and disorders by failing to disclose the tackle of the workers’ housing camp.
  • Neglected to supply two employees with copies of the Ga work contract.
  • Excluded function hours and the federal tax identification quantity necessary on pay stubs.
  • Supplied housing that violated security and health demands. Investigators found residing quarters with extreme particles, fireplace alarms with out batteries, h2o and mould hurt, floors with holes, unclean restrooms and food items storage, and a lack of right lighting.

To take care of the H-2A violations, the office assessed Pure Splendor Farms $182,811 in penalties and needed the employer to enter into a consent judgment. The settlement commits the employer to potential compliance with the H-2A provisions, like oversight by an independent, 3rd-party marketing consultant to watch and audit all Pure Beauty H-2A labor contractor and H-2A actions for a time period of three a long time. The section also recovered $17,651 in back wages that investigators identified was owed to one particular worker.

“Retailers and individuals may well be troubled to master how some agricultural employers take care of the people today whose tricky work generates the items they buy,” explained Wage and Hour Division Director Steven Salazar in Atlanta. “The federal H-2A plan exists to help employers fill positions in the agricultural field when they cannot discover U.S. workers. Too typically, our investigators learn violations and abuses, and obtain U.S. workers  have been illegally bypassed in the recruitment and selecting procedure.”

“In this case, we also uncovered the employer housed staff in unsafe and harmful ailments, which is unacceptable, and which contributed to considerable penalties for the Pure Natural beauty Farms,” Salazar extra. “Clearly, the repercussions of violating the law can be extremely expensive. We really encourage employers to make contact with us with  questions and to look for aid to avoid infractions.”

The division delivers various compliance help assets, such as an agriculture compliance assistance toolkit, to offer employers the info they need to comply with the law.

For a lot more info about the FLSA and other staff legal rights enforced by the division, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Workers can get in touch with the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with queries irrespective of wherever they are from and the department can discuss with callers in extra than 200 languages.  Assist make certain hours worked and pay back are correct by downloading the department’s Android and iOS Timesheet App for no cost, also offered in Spanish.