Employer: Heritage Farms LLC 2309 E 5 US Highway 98Holtville, CA 92250 Investigation findings: U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigators determined that Heritage Farms provided substandard housing facilities, transported workers in unsafe vehicles and failed to pay required wages in full, all violations of the H-2A temporary agricultural program. Investigators found the housing provided by Heritage Farms did not meet safety and health requirements; specifically, they found mattresses without bed frames on floors. Investigators also learned the employer failed to pay three drivers for time spent transporting H-2A workers to and from the fields, which led to unpaid overtime hours. The division also found the employer permitted the workers to be transported in unsafe vehicles with damaged tires and cracked windshields. In addition, investigators learned the employer charged workers for laundry costs, which are illegal deductions by law. Back Wages Recovered: $14,311 in unpaid wages for 42 employees $17,791 in civil money penaltiesQuote: “Employers participating in the H-2A guest worker program must make sure that the housing they provide is safe and sanitary, vehicles used to transport workers are safe and workers are paid correctly for all hours they work,” explained Wage and Hour Division Assistant District Director Jose Medina in San Diego. “We are committed to making certain industry employers fulfill their legal responsibilities.”Background: Heritage Farms grows and sells spinach and spring mix in Imperial County and has additional fields in Kings City, Salinas and also in Nevada. The employer supplies the produce to Taylor Farms, Dole, Organic Grow and State Garden. In fiscal year 2022, the Wage and Hour Division recovered more than $5.8 million in back wages for 8,260 workers employed in the agricultural industry. After 879 investigations, the division assessed employers more than $7.9 million in civil money penalties for violations of federal regulations.Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions – regardless of their immigration status – and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages.
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