U.S. Department of Labor Launches Farmworker Protection Initiative
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has launched a nationwide education, outreach, and enforcement initiative to ensure workplace protections for farmworkers. The initiative includes targeted outreach and education efforts to ensure that farmworkers and their advocates understand their rights and that they should contact the division to file a complaint if violations occur. The effort also focuses on educating growers, farm labor contractors, other agricultural employers, and industry stakeholders to ensure that they understand their responsibilities, and that the division is available to answer their questions. In addition to education and outreach, the initiative’s compliance component seeks to reduce agricultural industry violations through enforcement. Investigations in agriculture in 2020 found more than $7 million in back wages owed to more than 11,000 workers. In its investigations, the division assessed employers with more than $6 million in civil money penalties.