Oct 20, 2017
Onion producer to pay $1.5M in back wages, damages

Vidalia, Georgia-based Bland Farms Production and Packing LLC will pay nearly $1.5 million in back wages and liquidated damages after the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found the employer violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), according to a report by the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

The Chronicle reported:

“According to the Department of Labor, Bland failed to pay overtime to about 460 employees over the span of six years. Under the FLSA, employers must pay workers time-and-a-half when they exceed 40 hours in a work week. The overtime rule exempts company workers involved in primary agriculture, the act of growing product; or secondary agriculture, the act of processing, and packaging the product grown by that company.

Bland violated that rule when it failed to pay overtime wages to packing-shed employees involved in the processing and packaging of onions grown by other farmers who were contracted with the company to grow onions for sale to Bland. The contract farmers planted and grew the onions only to be packed and sold by Bland.

The agricultural exemption from the FLSA’s overtime requirements did not apply to the packing-shed employees when they processed onions not grown on Bland property.”

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