Migrant Workers Settle Case Against North Carolina Sweet Potato Farm for Wage Violations
Scott Farms in North Carolina must pay $1.25 million to migrant and seasonal agricultural workers who sued for unpaid minimum and overtime wages, and failure to make and preserve wage records as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (AWPA). The settlement was reached for over 900 current and former Scott Farm workers who performed various types of manual labor including hand harvesting, cutting, packing, and processing sweet potatoes and tobacco, on a piece rate basis. The lawsuit filed by attorneys for the workers alleged that Scott Farms’ workers performed both agricultural and non-agricultural work prohibiting Scott Farms from applying the piece rate compensation toward the minimum wage. Additionally, Scott Farms failed to pay workers the appropriate minimum wages when the piece rate compensation rate, the fixed wage payment received from each completed unit of work, did not equal or exceed the product of the hours worked. The migrant workers also sued for overtime compensation of one and one-half times their hourly rate when the length of their work week exceeded forty hours per week.
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