California Labor Contractor Violates Migrant Seasonal Workers Protection Act
In 2017, one worker was killed and six others injured after a van with a blown tire and a missing seatbelt overturned. Healthy Harvesting Inc. and Fernando Pineda Garcia now are being required to pay $79,153 in civil penalties.
The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California has entered a consent judgment requiring Healthy Harvesting Inc. and Fernando Pineda Garcia to pay $79,153 in civil penalties for violations of the Migrant Seasonal Workers Protection Act (MSPA).
In March 2017, a van overturned and one worker died and six others were injured. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) discovered that the overturned van had a blown tire and a missing seatbelt. Upon further investigation, they found that a second van tire was bald and two wheels were missing lug nuts leaving two wheels not fully secured to the vehicle.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) said that Healthy Harvesting Inc. and Fernando Pineda Garcia did not provide safe transportation to and from the fields for the Fisher Ranch workers, something that is required under MSPA.
"Farm labor contractors must provide safe transportation to workers to prevent these types of tragic and avoidable deaths in the future," said U.S. Department of Labor Regional Solicitor Janet Herold, in Los Angeles, California. "Farmworkers should not be putting their lives on the line simply by going to work, being transported to and from the fields by unqualified drivers using unsafe vehicles."
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the consent judgement requires Healthy Harvesting Inc. and Fernando Pineda Garcia to:
- Provide a notice to workers about their rights;
- Train supervisors and foremen on their obligations under MSPA; and
- Hire an independent monitor to report on defendants' compliance with MSPA.
Last July, Fisher Ranch LLC had to pay $21,168 in back wages and $49,104 in civil money penalties for the same incident.