Farm to Pay $460,000 in Back Wages and Penalties for Violation of the FLSA and MSPA

Friday, April 18, 2014

Fat Law’s Farm Inc. has been ordered by a court to pay $428,800 in back wages and liquidated damages to workers after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found the Oahu-based employer in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions. The company has also agreed to pay $31,200 in civil money penalties because of deplorable housing, safety and health conditions for workers, in violation of the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.

Fat Law’s Farm and owners Frank Law, Alice Law and Tim Law, failed to pay minimum wage for all hours worked and did not pay employees overtime at time and one-half their regular rates of pay for all hours beyond 40 in a workweek, as required by the FLSA. The company employed two primary groups of workers. Filipino workers were predominantly paid at $7.25 per hour, with overtime compensation. Workers, mainly from Laos, were paid $5 per hour in cash, without overtime, for 70 hours per week on average. In a consent judgment filed in the U.S. District Court of Hawaii, Judge J. Michael Seabright ordered Fat Law’s Farm permanently enjoined and restrained from violating the provisions of the FLSA.

The department executed a search warrant issued by the U.S. District Court in Hawaii that permitted Wage and Hour investigators to gain access to Fat Law’s Farm.

Fat Law’s Farm produces and supplies herbs and vegetables in Hawaii and is the main exporter of Hawaiian-grown basil to the U.S. mainland and Canada, which is sold locally by retailers, such as Safeway Inc.

Employers under the MSPA are required to provide safe housing and safe transportation. The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Earnings may be determined on a piece-rate basis, but overtime pay must be computed using the employee’s average hourly rate. The law also requires employers to maintain accurate records of employees’ wages, hours and other conditions of employment, and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the law.

Login to read more.


Username: *

Password: *
Accept terms *
Login failed.
copyright 2000 - 2024 Curtis Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. | Access to the HR Care publications is subject to certain terms and conditions.
Learn about our online compliance training at