Peri & Sons, a Nevada-based onion grower, has agreed to pay a record total of $2.3 million in back wages to 1,365 workers, along with a civil penalty of $500,000 for violations under the H-2A program.
An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division determined that workers employed by the company were not paid properly for work performed. All of the workers came to the U.S. from Mexico under the H-2A temporary agricultural worker visa program. In most cases, their earnings fell below the hourly wage required by the program, as well as below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for a brief period of time. Investigators also found that workers were not paid for time spent in mandatory pesticide training or reimbursed for subsistence expenses while traveling to and from the U.S. Additionally, their return transportation costs at the end of the contract period were not paid, as was required.
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