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Ewa herb farm settles federal labor charges

By Sam Eifling

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 04:57 p.m. HST, Apr 11, 2014

A local farm has agreed to settle a Department of Labor complaint that charged the farm underpaid its workers by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Fat Law's Farm, an Ewa herb and vegetable farm, will pay workers more than $430,000 in back wages and penalties to settle the federal claim.

The settlement states that Fat Law's violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by paying employees no more than $5 per hour, by withholding overtime pay and by neglecting to keep proper employment records.

Kathryn Xian, the founder of the Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery, says her organization became aware of abuses at the farm more than two years ago when migrant workers at the farm sought help. The Honolulu anti-human trafficking advocacy group then urged federal authorities to investigate.

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sailfish1 wrote:
Another Oahu farm abusing their workers. Are these the farmers that people in Hawaii want to support? Hope not.
on April 11,2014 | 11:58PM
cojef wrote:
Who are the owners of the farms? Are they locals or imports? If local, shame on them for ignoring overtime laws, let alone working conditions.
on April 12,2014 | 08:28AM
trailrunner wrote:
There is much more to the story. I hope media outlets will report on the allegations of deplorable living conditions, unapproved pesticides that may have caused serious health ailments, passport seizures, restriction of movement, and other signs of human trafficking. See http://www.hawaiireporter.com/fat-law-farm-known-as-king-of-basil-producers-ordered-to-cease-sales-and-destroy-basil-after-unauthorized-pesticide-found/123 for more info. As Hawaii pushes for food security with increased agriculture, we must remember to respect and value the farmers who not only work tirelessly to put healthy food on our plates, but are also at the forefront of our sustainability movement. And more importantly, we must recognize that modern-day slavery is happening in Hawaii and demand an end to it.
on April 15,2014 | 11:20PM
trailrunner wrote:
More info and pics: http://www.hawaiireporter.com/oahu-farm-fined-450000-after-u-s-department-of-labor-investigators-document-deplorable-conditions-back-wages-owed/123
on April 15,2014 | 11:24PM
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