Oregon Ag Operators Pay 11K in Back Wages to Workers Denied COVID Sick Leave

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PORTLAND, OR — After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), three Oregon agricultural operators will pay a collective $11,418 in back wages after wrongly denying paid sick leave to employees whose healthcare providers advised them to self-quarantine following potential coronavirus exposures.

WHD investigators found Coleman Agriculture Inc. in Gervais, St. Joseph Orchard Inc. in McMinnville and J Farms LLC in Amity failed to provide two weeks of paid sick leave to employees as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires. Coleman Agriculture Inc. paid seven employees a total of $8,878, St. Joseph Orchard Inc. paid four employees a total of $1,820 and J Farms LLC paid one employee $720.

“Employers must provide employees protected under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act the leave and pay the law requires,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Thomas Silva, in Portland, Oregon. “The U.S. Department of Labor stands ready to assist employers that may not fully understand their responsibilities to provide paid leave under this law. We provide extensive outreach and encourage everyone to reach out to our office and to use our website to ensure that they fully understand the benefits and protections required under this law.”

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