Initiative to protect rights of farmworkers, educate employers
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division is conducting an enforcement initiative focusing on the agricultural industry in North Carolina, particularly among producers of hand-harvested crops, in which the division previously has found widespread labor violations. The goal of this initiative is to increase employer compliance and remind workers of their rights under the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act and the federal H-2A temporary nonimmigrant worker programs.
Since 2008, the Wage and Hour Division’s Raleigh District Office has conducted more than 260 investigations of agricultural operations in its jurisdiction alone, recovering nearly $473,000 in back wages for 878 employees. Significant and persistent violations in this industry have resulted in low wages, unsafe housing and transportation, and harsh working conditions for vulnerable workers such as minors, seasonal employees, and migrant or temporary foreign farmworkers.