US Department of Labor finds violations at Mississippi fish farms, recovers more than $102K in back wages for 123 workers

JACKSON, MS – Federal investigations of six Mississippi fish farms by the U.S. Department of Labor have led to the recovery of $102,176 in back wages for 123 workers and the assessment of $69,122 in civil money penalties.

The violations found by investigators included the failure to reimburse H-2A workers for transportation and subsistence, to reimburse travel-related expenses, to disclose accurate anticipated hours of work and bonus opportunities in the H-2A job order, to pay the required rate of pay for U.S. workers in corresponding employment, and to disclose all of the conditions of employment. They also identified unlawful pay deductions and recordkeeping violations.

The division’s investigations found the following employers owed back wages and assessed civil money penalties as follows:

Employer

City

Wages

Penalties

Integrity Feeders LLC

Brookhaven

n/a

$5,182

Jubilee Farms

Indianola

$87,620

$33,416

Delta Hybrid Farms

Itta Bena

n/a

$3,037

Battle Fish North

Tunica

$149

$1,518

Magnolia Processing Inc.

Tunica

$11,383

$23,320

Phillips Brothers Farms

Yazoo City

$3,024

$2,649

“The U.S. Department of Labor will continue to ensure all agricultural workers, both the H-2A and corresponding U.S. workers, are paid the wages they legally earned and are provided safe working, housing and transportation conditions,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Audrey L. Hall in Jackson, Mississippi. “These workers are a diverse group of women and men who can be particularly vulnerable to wage and labor abuses. The Wage and Hour Division is here to help both employees and employers understand federal laws. We encourage all stakeholders to take advantage of the free resources available.”

The division is engaged in ongoing education, outreach and enforcement efforts to ensure Mississippi farms operate within federal law. Wage and Hour Division staff are also working with stakeholders to promote better understanding of the laws governing their industry, and offering compliance assistance for those seeking to avoid costly violations.

The division offers multiple compliance assistance resources, including an agriculture compliance assistance toolkit, with information employers need to comply with laws. Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions – regardless of their immigration status – and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages. Call the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or visit the website to learn more about the Wage and Hour Division.

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