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Peri & Sons, a Yerington, Nev.-based onion grower, agreed to pay a record $2.3 million in back wages to 1,365 workers from Mexico in the U.S. on the H-2A temporary agricultural worker visa, the U.S. Department of Labor announced. Peri & Sons will also pay a civil penalty of $500,000.
The department reported that workers’ pay fell below the hourly wage required by the program as well as below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for a brief period of time. The workers were also not paid for time spent in mandatory pesticide training or reimbursed for subsistence expenses while traveling to and from the U.S., according to the department. In addition, the workers’ return transportation costs were not paid as is required.
The H2-A temporary agricultural worker program allows employers to bring in foreign workers to the U.S. to perform temporary or seasonal agricultural work.