Stuck in the Forest: Company Debarred Over Labor Law Violations on Federal Property

Debarring a company from doing business with the federal government is the most serious weapon in the government’s arsenal to enforce labor laws against that sector of the economy. But that’s what the U.S. Department of Labor did this week against a company that was doing a reforestation project for the government in the Superior National Forest in Minnesota.

According to the DOL’s announcement, Garcia Forest Service violated the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act by failing to pay fringe benefits, minimum wage, overtime and holiday pay to workers hired for the reforestation project.

Evidently the violations affected mostly immigrant workers, since DOL said that Garcia had primarily used the H-2B Visa Program to recruit and employ foreign guest workers to perform seasonal work under its contracts.

The debarment order means the company can’t apply for any new federal contract work for 3 years. The company and its president, Garcia, cooperated fully with the Wage and Hour Division during its investigation and subsequently paid 12 workers $27,489 in back wages, DOL said.

Read more.

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