Nursery Ordered to Pay $143,384 to Domestic Employees Who Were Paid Less than Foreign Workers Under the H-2A Program

 
Thursday, March 31, 2016
 

An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that Overdevest Nurseries, a wholesale grower of plants, shrubs, trees and flowers, hired approximately 55 foreign workers under the H-2A visa program to perform seasonal agricultural work during the 2012 and 2013 growing seasons. Investigators determined that the Bridgeton, New Jersey, employer paid its domestic production workers less than the rate paid to the H-2A workers during that time, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

After the investigation, the company requested a hearing, which led to both the department and the defendant filing motions for summary decision to resolve the case.

 

An administrative law judge granted a summary decision in favor of the division ordering Overdevest to pay $92,984 in back wages to 69 U.S. workers, and an additional $50,400 in civil money penalties for the violations.

 

The Immigration and Nationality Act authorizes the lawful admission of temporary, nonimmigrant workers (H-2A workers) to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature. The department’s regulations governing the H-2A Program also apply to the employment of U.S. workers by an employer of H-2A workers in any work included in the ETA-approved job order or in any agricultural work performed by the H-2A workers during the period of the job order. 

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