NEW SMYRNA BEACH, FL – After an investigation, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) assessed S&S Apiaries LLC – a New Smyrna, Florida-based beekeeper – a $6,357 civil money penalty and found the employer owed $4,130 in back wages to three employees for violating the labor provisions of the H-2A guest worker visa program.
WHD investigators found the employer violated the requirements of the H-2A visa program by failing to disclose the actual terms and conditions of the job when applying to employ guest workers. In its petition to participate in the program, the employer stated that employees would work 38 available hours per week, but in the performance of the actual work, employees worked more than 50 hours per workweek. The employer also failed to provide a copy of the work contract to the employees and to display an H-2A poster at the job site or warehouse, as required. In addition, WHD found back wages due when S&S Apiaries failed to pay employees for any hours they worked beyond 50 in a workweek.
“Agricultural employers that bring in temporary guest workers on H-2A visas must comply with all the program’s requirements, including accurately advertising the terms and conditions of the job,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Wildalí De Jesús in Orlando, Florida. “Failure to properly disclose the accurate number of potential work hours may discourage qualified U.S. applicants from applying to the position. We offer a wealth of compliance information readily available to assist employers in understanding their obligations under the law.”
The Department offers numerous resources to ensure employers have the tools they need to understand their responsibilities and to comply with federal law, such as a compliance assistance toolkit for agriculture employers, online videos and confidential calls to local WHD offices.
For more information about the H-2A visa program and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd.
WHD’s mission is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation’s workforce. WHD enforces federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes. Additionally, WHD administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act and other statutes applicable to federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.