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Farmworkers to Receive Nearly $1M in CA Wage and Hour Lawsuit Settlement

January 23, 2012

Last month, a federal judge approved a $915,000 class action California wage and hour settlement, filed by a group of 82 migratory Fresno County farmworkers who claimed they experienced violations of California State law and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), after their employer failed to may them proper minimum wage for their farm work.

According to the lawsuit, that attorney Vincent Howard has been following, thirty-one workers originally claimed that H&R Gunland Ranches paid them wages based on a piece rate basis for their work pruning and tying grape vines--regardless of the number of actual hours worked. The farmworkers, who were represented by the California Rural Legal Assistance, (CRLA) accused the farm of paying them less than $2 per hour, in the 2009-filed lawsuit.

As Howard Law's labor and employment attorney Vincent Howard has reported in a related Riverside wage and hour blog, under the FLSA all employees covered by the act must receive at least $7.25 per hour, the national minimum wage, for hours worked in a forty-hour week. If employees work over forty hours in a week of work, they must according to federal law receive overtime compensation, which totals one and one-half times their routine rates of payment, and includes incentive pay, any bonuses, and commissions.

The wage and hour lawsuit was reportedly granted class action status, after the workers alleged that they were forced to work beyond 10 hours per day and 60 hours per week, yet did not receive minimum wage, as required by federal law. An additional 51 workers joined the lawsuit, which brought the total to 82 members who will be eligible to receive the settlement.

The overtime payment lawsuit also accused the farm of violating the FLSA by failing to provide state rest and meal requirements and for not providing the necessary farm tools needed for their job of tying and pruning grapevines.

According to the terms of the settlement, the $490,000 will be divided among the members of the class, and the remainder of the amount will be used for attorneys' fees and costs. According to the CRLA, the amount that each worker will receive will depend on the total number of hours they worked.

If you or someone you know have experienced violations of the FLSA or California Labor Codes in cities throughout Orange County, California, contact labor and employment attorney Vincent Howard, for a free consultation about your labor and employment rights.

Farmworkers get $915k in Fresno County Wage suit, The Fresno Bee, November 29, 2011

H&R Gunland Ranches To Settle Lawsuit For Unfair Labor Practices With Farmworkers, The Huffington Post, December 1, 2011

Related Web Resources:

U.S. Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Department of Labor (DOL): Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

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Obama and DOL Seek to Extend Federal Wage and Hour Laws to Home Health Care Workers, California Employment Lawyers Blog, December 26, 2011

DOL Wage and Hour Investigation Forces South Florida Restaurants To Pay Nearly $700K in Back Wages, California Employment Lawyers Blog, December 5, 2011

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