Labor Department targets unregistered farm labor contractor

Labor Department targets unregistered farm labor contractor

HOLUALOA, Hawaii (AP) - The U.S. Labor Department says an unregistered farm labor contractor deprived migrant workers picking coffee on the Big Island of federal protections such as minimum wage.

The department says Tomasa Rincon-Ibarra's Tomasita Farm Service wasn't a registered farm labor contractor when she recruited and employed seasonal migrant workers in 2011. The department says she violated the Migrant Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act. The law provides protections regarding wages, housing, transportation, disclosures and record-keeping.

She couldn't immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

The department says she's debarred for seven years from registering as a farm labor contractor or engaging in any farm labor contractor activities.

Officials say the investigation puts Hawaii agricultural growers on notice that they should ask a labor contractor for registration proof before entering into worker agreements.

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