Company shorted H-2A visa workers in pay, violated safety and health housing standards

A Plant City company brought workers into the United States on the H-2A visa program, shorted them on pay and housed them in substandard lodgings, the Department of Labor announced.

AG Labor, run by Julio Cruz and Vanessa Duran, paid $16,332 in owed pay and damages to 44 workers — $371.18 per employee —and were dunned $2,082 for the H-2A violations. Those violations included:

Housing that violated the H-2A program’s safety and health requirements.

Sending H-2A workers to job sites not listed in AG Labor’s request for H-2A workers.

Not paying workers for time spent getting to and from work sites.

The H-2A program allows companies to bring in nonimmigrant workers for temporary or seasonal farm work.

AG Labor tried to claim an exemption from Fair Labor Standards Act overtime requirements but had them work with other farmers’ produce.

“Once employees packed goods brought in from other suppliers, the exemption did not apply, and they were due overtime,” Labor stated.

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.