The following labor contractors and farmers from North Carolina will not be allowed to participate in the H-2A program, after investigators from the Department of Labor concluded investigations of labor violations reported by the workers. The following are summaries provided by the U.S. Department of Labor.
If you know any workers seeking more information about how to claim any back wages collected pursuant to a U.S. Department of Labor investigation, please share our contact information so that we can share more about the claims process.
- Aricel Lopez and Jasiel Rodriguez Núñez – Debarred until May 30, 2021.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has revoked the farm labor contractor certificate of registration for Jasiel Rodriguez-Nunez and has debarred the contractor and his business partner, unregistered farm labor contractor Aricel Lopez-Morales, from applying for H-2A certification for three years following an investigation.
WHD has assessed Rodriguez-Nunez $187,332 in civil money penalties for the violations and found that he owes $24,199 in back wages to 98 employees who worked at Evans Farms in Fremont. WHD assessed Lopez-Morales $202,662 in civil money penalties and declared the farm labor contractor ineligible to apply for a certificate of registration in the future.
Numerous violations were disclosed, including failure to pay workers required wages, failure to reimburse workers for the cost of their transportation to the U.S., and failure to ensure that drivers transporting the workers locally were licensed and insured. More information.
- Marisa García Pineda – Debarred until March 4th, 2021.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has revoked the farm labor contractor certificate of registration for Marisa Garcia-Pineda and has debarred the contractor for three years because of violations of federal laws related to wages and worker protections. WHD found that Garcia-Pineda owed $195,735 in back wages to 287 employees while working at Ham Farms in Snow Hill, North Carolina. In addition to the farm labor registration revocation and H-2A debarment, WHD also assessed the company a civil money penalty of $321,400.
WHD investigators determined Garcia-Pineda violated H-2A requirements by failing to reimburse employees for their inbound transportation expenses from their home countries as the law requires, which also resulted in FLSA minimum wage violations during the first week of employment. The employer also failed to pay transportation expenses to employees for their return home, and failed to record the hours offered to employees as available for work in payroll records as required under H-2A provisions.
The company further violated H-2A requirements by failing to pay the H-2A employees the legally required wage rate for the hours that they worked and by charging them recruitment fees. Garcia-Pineda violated MSPA provisions by failing to provide a written disclosure to migrant workers explaining their working conditions, failing to post a MSPA poster at the worksite, and failing to post housing conditions in employer-provided housing.
Marisa Garcia-Pineda utilized the services of Monica Saavedra – a Douglas, Georgia farm labor contractor – to process the H-2A applications, advertise for employees, and process the paperwork. In October 2017, the Department’s Employment and Training Administration debarred Saavedra for H-2A violations including failing to comply with the employer’s obligations to recruit U.S. workers. More information.
- Vásquez Citrus & Hauling Inc. and Juan Vásquez – Debarred until March 6th, 2021.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has debarred the Lake Placid, Florida, company Vasquez Citrus & Hauling Inc. and Juan Vasquez, an H-2A farm labor contractor, from applying for H-2A certification for a period of three years for violations of the program’s provisions. WHD also issued the company a civil money penalty of $15,153.
WHD investigators found Vasquez Citrus & Hauling Inc., working for Ham Farms in Snow Hill, North Carolina, failed to reimburse employees for their inbound travel expenses as required by law. Additionally, Vasquez failed to provide adequate payroll or time records to the investigators. More information.
- Worldwide Staffing LLC – Debarred unitl March 7th, 2021.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has debarred Worldwide Staffing LLC from applying for H-2A certifications for three years following violations of the visa program’s requirements and a failure to pay back wages owed to employees. The company failed to reimburse employees for their inbound travel expenses from their home countries, as the law requires, and owed $58,458 in back wages to 200 employees. WHD assessed the staffing company a civil penalty of $17,309 because of the violations.
Investigators found Worldwide Staffing – a Dunn-based farm labor contractor – failed to provide employees with adequate cooking facilities to allow them to prepare their meals. Under the H-2A program, employers must either provide cooking facilities to workers free of charge, or provide them three meals per day, for which they may charge. WHD investigators found that Worldwide Staffing provided only two meals per day, and charged workers more for these meals than allowed by law. More information.
The following NC employers were also debarred from the H2A program, but we currently do not have more information:
- J Rivera Harvesting, Inc. – Debarred until April 29, 2021.
- John Hudson Farms, Inc. – Debarred until June 30, 2020.