POULAN, GA — The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has debarred Reyes Quality Berry Farm LLC – based in Poulan, GA – from applying for certification to request temporary foreign workers under the H-2A agricultural worker visa program for three years. WHD also assessed the employer a $61,265 civil penalty for violating the labor provisions of the H-2A program, and found that the employer owed $47,675 in back wages to 32 employees.
WHD investigators determined Reyes Quality Berry Farm LLC and owner Jhony Reyes failed to provide H-2A employees with at least three-quarters of the work hours that they were guaranteed on their work contracts and failed to pay them the wages required by law under the program. The employer also impeded the investigation by providing falsified information, and failed to maintain and provide required records.
“The Wage and Hour Division provides many tools and educational opportunities to help agricultural employers understand their responsibilities, including those that apply when they request workers under guest worker programs,” said Wage and Hour Division Acting District Director Derrick Witherspoon, in Atlanta, Georgia. “Employers or their contractors who violate the H-2A visa program’s provisions create unfair advantages over other H-2A employers, hurt U.S. workers and put guest workers at risk. The Wage and Hour Division remains committed to protecting essential farmworkers, holding accountable employers who violate the provisions of the H-2A program, and maintaining a level playing field for employers.”