By Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

Following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, DOL Administrative Law Judge Dana Rosen has issued an order debarring Francisco Valadez Jr. LLC, a farm labor contractor based in Smithfield, North Carolina from applying for certification to request temporary foreign workers under the H-2A temporary agricultural program for 2 years. The order also assessed a $17,892 civil penalty for Valadez’s violations of the program’s labor provisions.
Investigators found Valadez, who provided H-2A workers to harvest blueberries at Winzeler Farms LLC in Kelly and Sleepy Creek Farms in Harrells, had failed to:
  • Pay some workers required wages.
  • Reimburse workers’ travel expenses from their home countries to the employer’s facility.
  • Reimburse workers for their visa costs and border crossing fees.
  • Meet transportation safety requirements by transporting workers without required driving authorization, driving workers with a suspended license.
  • Provide housing free of waste material and kept in sanitary condition.