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Lewis County Farmer Failed to Pay $150K in OT to Workers


The New York State Department of Labor announced a settlement in a wage theft case that resulted in two farm workers receiving nearly $150,000 in back wages. Labor investigators found that Lewis County dairy farm Hancor Holsteins had failed to pay its workers the overtime wages they were owed for nearly two years.

“Let cases like this stand as a warning to unscrupulous employers: New York State will not tolerate rightfully earned wages being stolen from workers,” said New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon. “We will aggressively pursue and hold bad actors accountable in our ongoing efforts to protect workers and assure they receive all the wages they have earned.”

The two farm workers filed complaints with the state’s Division of Labor Standards claiming they were not paid for overtime hours worked for the period from January 1, 2020, through December 12, 2021. Over the course of the investigation, Hancor Holsteins admitted to Labor investigators that they altered payroll records to reduce actual hours worked as a way to avoid paying overtime. The farm workers were not being paid overtime for hours worked past 60 hours per week as required by the Farm Laborer Fair Practice Act. Both victims received more than $74,000 each to compensate for the underpayment.

New York State’s Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act establishes that, as of January 2020, all farm workers must be paid one and a half times the regular rate of pay for any hours worked over 60 hours in a calendar week. The law also established the formation of the Farm Laborers Wage Board, which in 2022 recommended lowering the current 60-hour threshold for overtime pay to 40 hours per week over a ten-year phase-in period, beginning in 2024. In February 2022, NYSDOL announced the adoption of the final farm labor overtime regulations, codifying the Board’s report and recommendation into law.

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