Louisiana crawfish processor forced to pay USD 140,000 for labor law violations
Crowley, Louisiana, U.S.A.-based Acadia Processors has paid USD 138,629 (EUR 118,000) after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor found it owed back wages to 100 employees.
In June 2020, the Center for Migrant Rights filed a whistleblower complaint with the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration on behalf of two former Acadia Processors workers who tested positive for COVID-19.
The two workers, Maribel Hernandez and Reyna Isabel Alvarez, who were in the country on temporary H-2B visas, alleged Acadia Processors fired them after they raised concerns about safety protocols at the company’s housing complexes.
The Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division determined that Acadia violated the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime requirements when the employer paid only straight time to employees when they worked more than 40 hours per week.
The employer, who paid employees on a piece-rate basis, must also include incentives and bonuses in the calculation of overtime pay, the Department of Labor said.
“Our investigation found a significant number of workers were being denied their legally earned wages,” New Orleans Wage and Hour District Director Troy Mouton said. “These violations occurred amid the [COVID-19] pandemic, when food industry workers put themselves at risk to support the economy and supply U.S. consumers. Ensuring that these workers receive the pay they earned is among the division’s top priorities.”
Acadia Co-Owner Julie Broussard said the company had no comment on the issue.
"It is our policy not to comment on legal matters," Broussard told SeafoodSource.
Photo courtesy of Acadia Processors