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Nearly $10 Million Civil Penalty Levied Against Agriprocessors for Wage Violations

agri1.jpgIowa’s Labor Commissioner assessed civil penalties against Agriprocessors, Inc. for repeated violations of Iowa’s wage laws from January 1, 2006 to June 30, 2008.

“Once again, Agriprocessors has demonstrated a complete disregard for Iowa Law,” stated Iowa Labor Commissioner Dave Neil. “This continued course of violations is a black mark on Iowa’s business community.”

Agriprocessors, Inc., was assessed a penalty of $339,700 for illegally deducting “sales tax/miscellaneous” costs 3,397 times. 1,073 employees were affected by the unauthorized deductions reducing their pay by $72,189.09. A separate civil penalty, of $100 per incidence, exists for illegally deducting a charge for frocks. This deduction occurred in 96,436 separate incidences resulting in a $9,643,600 penalty. 2,001 employees had their wages illegally reduced by $192,597.36. Additionally, Aggriprocessors, Inc. failed to pay 42 employees their last paychecks on May 16th and May 23rd following the Immigration & Customs Enforcement raid. Due to the overlapping nature of pay periods, seven individuals were shorted two paychecks. The company has been assessed a penalty of $4,900 for this violation. In total, $9,988,200 in civil penalties was assessed and Agriprocessors, Inc. owes $264,786.45 in back wages.

Agriprocessors, Inc. has 30 days to contest the proposed penalties in writing. If a hearing is not requested within 30 days, all proposed penalties become the final action of the department. An additional wage investigation is still pending with the company that could potentially lead to additional civil penalties.

(Source: Iowa Workforce Development)

14 Responses

  1. bacci40
    Your biased veiw is old news. I hope Hashem has more rachmanus on you than you have on other Yidden.

    #2 Right now do not be worried about them passing the cost on to you, since Rubashkin is at a point that either the win this $10 mil case or they chas vshalom close. Its that simple, they cant affored to pay anything with production down 80%.

    This may mean nothing to Brooklynites etc, but to the average kosher eating Jew out of NYC it means EVERYTHING!!!

    Lo samoid al dam reyacha!!!!

  2. #6, The Monsey butcher situation wasn’t accepted based upon hearsay, but rather upon Rabbinical inspection, verification, and admission of guilt by the perpertrator (to take your example.)

  3. Note from an attorney: It is a bit odd that the State would go for the full penalty amount under the circumstances unless a) someone is looking to grab headlines b) they think Agri is/has been playing games with them and they’re upset c) someone is being a jerk d) possible anti-Semitism e) all or a combination of the above.

    I say this because, in my experience, when government regulators come down on a business (unless it has a long history), they usually work with you, assessing the minimum penalties, waiving some penalties, etc. The one about charging them for every one of the “frock” violations is a case in point, where they’d say, we’ll waive all but a 100, pay a $10,000 fine on that and if we catch you again, we’re going to let you really have it.

    This is just educated guesswork, but it seems there is more to the story, as there often is.

  4. bacci, my respect is reserved for the only true law, and that is of course the Torah. And based on the Torah, I follow the law of the land. But I certainly have no respect for a corrupt legal system written by corrupt politicians and enforced by corrupt officials and a bribed court system. Follow it, yes. Respect it, no. Believe every filthy allegation it spews? Certainly not.

  5. Joseph and Yochi, might I remind you of a small statement made clearly in the gemoreh and followed except b’shaas hadchak by EVERYONE of the Amoroim. Dino DeMalchuso Dino. Enough Said. I am disgusted by the alleged treatment of workers. I saw serious issues of tzar baalei Chayim in the PETA video. But never mind those for a second. WHy defend someone or castigate his critics when he is so clearly being oiver one of the most widely known axioms of Yiddishkeit in golus?

  6. The penalties don’t fit the crime – and are inconsistent with the mood throughout the American corporate scene – which has had fraud of many magnitudes beyond these accusations excused with benign action.

    It looks like there are empowered ‘others’ behind both the charges and even the raids: maybe a group or a ‘minion’ of them who are against kashrus or big business, or something else. At any rate, I’m sure ‘Agri’ had accountants who oversaw their books, and that most of this was based on interpretive understanding of tax law – as frocks for instance, can easily represent the company’s professional, frum image would therefore be a legitimate business expense in similar corporate situations – very typically, in this country – ask any CPA.

    This is a VERY scary case, and indicative of hooliganism. I hope very much, that they will have the means to fight this successfully – all of it – and that the sympathies of normal business will be aroused for them. Whether an organized conspiracy, or just that of over-zealous bureaucracy with too much time on their hands, this is both scary and pathetic, and it seems to me, that ostracizing fairly normal business practices that are technically, even within the general letter of the law is a reason to protest – as this is one big case of government ‘nit-picking’ — not imposed consistently AT ALL, by prevailing standards and norms.

    Check this link at a leading alternative health site about another government bullying case, coordinated in part, by the FDA. There is a widespread abuse of power going on in this country now, more and more, in particular, through its inconsistant application of the law:

    Yidden, be m’lamed z’chus on Agri, and get involved if you can. This entire case, from beginning to end, spells one nightmarish word: S-H-A-K-E-D-O-W-N!

  7. #13, we’ll have to agree to disagree.

    Comment by Joseph — October 29, 2008 @ 4:37 pm

    “Doctor, before I submit to surgery with you, I think you should at least explain to me why you think I need it for a common cold.”

    “Well, we’ll just have to disagree on this one.”

  8. Excuse me #15 but the videos that peta has shown, while they aren’t pretty (slaughter is never pretty)doesn’t show any problems with the shechita. The world has allready accepted this lie as truth because it has been repeated time and again. At the time there letters issued and signed by many rabbonim, from all circles, stating that the shechita is 100% kosher. You can look it up on the web.

  9. by the way: frocks are uniforms that the all employees wear, it’s similar to an apron. its not what the lubavitcher & litvishi wear

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