Over the past six months, the Department of Justice charged farms nationwide with countless farm labor violations, and according to a 2020 article by The Counter, “70% of farm labor investigations end in violations.” But we are here to help you manage your risk and gain peace of mind.
From knowing what breaks are required for farm employees to correctly classifying your interns and volunteers, every farm and ranch business deserves easy-to-understand farm employment law resources, and every farm and ranch employee deserves a safe place to work. That is why this fall, we will launch our Open Farm Employment Law Week, which is an entire week of free farm employment law resources and live programming where you can ask us your farm employment law questions and get solutions.
Below are a few of the farm labor enforcement actions that have occurred so far in 2023. We encourage you to read through them and share with us your questions or concerns in our Commons Community.
- This past winter, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) cited a Kentucky farm for child labor law violations. The violations included exposing minors to hazardous tasks, paying at the incorrect overtime rate, and allowing minors to work past 7 PM on dates “outside of June 1 and Labor Day.”
- In April, the U.S. DOL found that a “Mississippi farm willfully disregarded safety standards after a South African guest worker suffocated in the storage bin.” OHSA proposed $90,182 in penalties.
- This summer, the U.S. DOL “penalized two farm labor contractors and one commercial vineyard in Northern California for violations of farmworker protection laws, including allowing a 14-year-old to work during school hours illegally. The department issued a combined $231,881 in fines and recovered $129,081 in back wages for 353 agricultural workers.”
- Last month, two migrant farm employees sued First Pick Blueberry Farms in Michigan for “alleged labor trafficking violations, including being forced to work long hours without breaks, accept unfair wages and share a three-bedroom house between 30 workers, under threat of legal repercussions if they complained about their situation.”
- Earlier this month in Illinois, the U.S. DOL cited Littlejohn Grain Incorporation for “two willful, 10 serious, and three other-than-serious violations,” and OSHA proposed penalties of $272,957.