Published Date: 05/05/2014
By John Gupton
A US Department of Labor (DOL) investigation has resulted in the debarment of Garcia Forest Service LLC, and its president, Samuel Garcia, from eligibility for further service contracts with any US government agency for three years. The investigation found that the Rockingham, NC-based company violated the Service Contract Act (SCA) and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act (CWHSSA) by failing to pay fringe benefits, minimum wage, overtime and holiday pay to workers hired for a reforestation project in the Superior National Forest in Minnesota.
According to the DOL, Garcia Forest Service entered into a contract in 2007 with the US Forest Service, an agency of the US Department of Agriculture, for reforestation services, such as planting seedlings and clearing brush in the Superior National Forest. The company primarily uses the H-2B Visa Program to recruit and employ foreign guest workers to perform seasonal work under its contracts.
An investigation by the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division found that the company violated the SCA and the CWHSSA by failing to ensure hours worked were accurately reported resulting in minimum wage violations, not paying required fringe benefits, overtime and holiday pay. In addition to the debarment, the company will also have to pay 12 workers $27,489 in back wages.
For more information about the DOL and the federal laws it enforces, go to www.dol.gov.