The U.S. Department of Labor debarred Florida H-2A Labor Contractor, Flo-Ag LLC and its principals Jose and Juan Flores for violating guest worker visa requirements. This means the company is unable to request temporary foreign workers under the H-2A agricultural worker visa program for two years.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) determined that the employer owed $45,212 in back wages to 113 employees. The employer has since paid the back wages.
According to a news release from the US Department of Labor, “WHD investigators found Flo-Ag and H-2A labor contractors Juan and Jose Flores violated wage requirements when they paid lower wages to U.S. workers than they paid to guest workers performing the same work. They violated housing requirements when they failed to provide free housing to U.S. workers but did so for guest workers, and failed to provide meals or kitchen facilities to U.S. workers. Flo-Ag also violated safety and health standards in the housing it provided to guest workers, and failed to reimburse them for expenses they incurred traveling to the facility from their home countries, as the law requires.
“WHD also found Flo-Ag paid some U.S. workers in cash and did not provide a pay stub, failed to provide a work contract to some employees, and housed migrant workers without the proper authorization.”
Flo-Ag provided H-2A workers for the harvest of blueberries, watermelons, bell peppers and cucumbers at Smith Farms of Bell Inc. in Trenton, Florida, and Wood Farms Inc. in Rochelle, Georgia.