U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in a Washington Orchard Paying $19,297 in Fines for Providing Illegal Housing for Migrant Workers

SEATTLE, WA ? After a U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation, Rivera Orchards Inc. has paid $19,297 in penalties to resolve Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA) violations that posed a direct and imminent threat to its employees.

During the 2017 harvest, Division investigators noted the presence of rats and a live wasp?s nest in a facility that housed 15 migrant workers by the Chelan, Washington-based orchard. Investigators also found that Rivera Orchards Inc. failed to disclose work and housing conditions to employees, as the law requires, and also violated recordkeeping requirements. Upon discovery, the owner made immediate changes to clean the facilities.

?Employers must understand their obligations and responsibilities under the law,? said Jeanette Aranda, Wage and Hour Division District Director in Seattle.??Employees? health and safety is of the utmost importance. We encourage all employers to make use of the many tools we provide to help them understand and comply with the law, and to call us for assistance.?

The MSPA protects migrant and seasonal agricultural workers by establishing employment standards related to wages, housing, transportation, disclosures, and recordkeeping. For general information on MSPA, please see the Employment Law Guide or the Wage and Hour Division?s?MSPA fact sheet.

To operate legally as farm labor contractors, individuals and companies must register with the U.S. Department of Labor. Farm labor contractors that intend to house, transport, or drive a migrant or seasonal agricultural worker must meet special requirements. Application?materials and instructions?can be found online at?https://www.dol.gov/whd/forms/fts_wh530.htm

Employees and employers with questions about MSPA or any of the federal laws administered by the Division should call the agency?s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). All calls are confidential. More information also is available online at?http://www.dol.gov/whd/.

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