Harvesting company pays back wages, penalties

A Clovis harvesting company paid more than $100,000 in back wages and penalties after the U.S. Department of Labor cited it for labor violations, according to a news release.

According to the news release issued on Tuesday, an investigation by the Albuquerque district office found Jimenez Cutom Harvesting, Inc. violated H-2A program provisions by failing to compensate workers for time spent in travel, failing to pay the required hourly rate for all workers, and making illegal wage deductions.

The H-2A temporary agricultural program allows agricultural employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers to bring nonimmigrant foreign workers to the U.S. to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature, according to the Department of Labor's website.

Company spokeswoman Vivian Jimenez said the company was going by program rules set in 2008 and was not aware of new rules made in 2010. She said the company had finalized payments in February.

She said the company will no longer hire foreign workers, which it started doing in 2004.

Jimenez Custom Harvesting has been providing agricultural services for area farms and dairies for 37 years, she said.

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