Forest Service Company Barred from Federal Contracts for Three Years

An investigation by the Labor Department found that Garcia Forest Service LLC of Rockingham, N.C., violated the the McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act by failing to pay fringe benefits, minimum wage, overtime, and holiday pay to workers hired for a reforestation project.

The U.S. Labor Department announced April 24 that Garcia Forest Service LLC, and its president, Samuel Garcia, have been barred from eligibility for further service contracts with any U.S. government agency for three years after DOL's investigation found the Rockingham, N.C.-based company violated the McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act by failing to pay fringe benefits, minimum wage, overtime, and holiday pay to employees hired for a reforestation project in the Superior National Forest in Minnesota.

Administrative Law Judge Kenneth A. Krantz issued the debarment order in Newport News, Va.

"Contractors that do business with the federal government have an obligation to abide by the law, pay their employees the required contractual rates and benefits, and keep accurate and complete required records," said Laura A. Fortman, principal deputy administrator of the Wage and Hour Division. "The Service Contract Act requires debarment when violations are found unless the high standard of 'unusual circumstances' is met. Debarring this employer illustrates the department's commitment to vigorous enforcement of government contracting laws and helps level the playing field for law-abiding employers."

The investigation concerned a 2007 contract the company had with the U.S. Forest Service for reforestation services. Garcia Forest Service LLC primarily uses the H-2B Visa Program to recruit and foreign guest workers to perform seasonal work under its contracts, according to DOL, which also reported that the company and Garcia "cooperated fully with the Wage and Hour Division during its investigation and subsequently paid 12 workers $27,489 in back wages."

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