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Agricultural Labor Laws - Presented at NEFU Annual Meeting
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Agricultural Labor Laws - Presented at NEFU Annual Meeting

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An Overview of Agricultural Labor Law Issues presented at NEFU Annual Convention, December 2013, by Allison Condra, Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic

An Overview of Agricultural Labor Law Issues presented at NEFU Annual Convention, December 2013, by Allison Condra, Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic

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  • 1. Agriculture and Labor Laws Alli Condra New England Farmers Union Annual Convention December 6, 2013 For educational purposes only. Please consult an attorney for specific questions.
  • 2. Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic • The Food Law and Policy Clinic was established in order to link Harvard Law students with opportunities to provide pro bono legal assistance to individuals and communities on various food policy issues. • The Clinic aims to increase access to healthy foods, prevent diet-related diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, and assist small and sustainable farmers and producers in participating in local food markets. • Website: http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/foodpolicyinitiative/ For educational purposes only. Please consult an attorney for specific questions.
  • 3. Roadmap • • • • • Introduction to Labor Laws Definitions of Agriculture Issues Potential Solutions Questions/Comments For educational purposes only. Please consult an attorney for specific questions.
  • 4. Introduction to Labor Laws For educational purposes only. Please consult an attorney for specific questions.
  • 5. Federal Labor Laws • • • • • • • Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 Migrant and Seasonal Worker Protection Act Child Labor Laws Immigration (H-2A) Interns Apprentices Others… For educational purposes only. Please consult an attorney for specific questions.
  • 6. FLSA Requirements 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq. (2012). • Minimum Wage • Overtime For educational purposes only. Please consult an attorney for specific questions.
  • 7. FLSA Exemptions for Agriculture 29 U.S.C. § 213 (2012). • Minimum Wage • Required to pay minimum wage with very limited exemptions. • Overtime • Exemption from overtime pay, as long as employee is employed in agriculture. For educational purposes only. Please consult an attorney for specific questions.
  • 8. Consequences of Violating FLSA 29 U.S.C. §§ 215, 216 (2012). • Fines and/or Imprisonment • Back Wages + Other Damages • Note: States may have their own fines and damages, etc., for violations of state wage and hour laws. • Some states, such as MA, automatically impose treble (3x) damages. For educational purposes only. Please consult an attorney for specific questions.
  • 9. Definitions of Agriculture For educational purposes only. Please consult an attorney for specific questions.
  • 10. How do you define “agriculture”? For educational purposes only. Please consult an attorney for specific questions.
  • 11. FLSA/DOL Definition of Agriculture includes Agriculture 29 U.S.C. § 203(f) (2012). farming in all its branches and among other things includes the cultivation and tillage of the soil, dairying, the production, cultivation, growing, and harvesting of any agricultural or horticultural commodities . . . , the raising of livestock, bees, fur-bearing animals, or poultry, and any practices (including any forestry or lumbering operations) performed by a farmer or on a farm as an incident to or in conjunction with such farming operations, including preparation for market, delivery to storage or to market or to carriers for transportation to market. For educational purposes only. Please consult an attorney for specific questions.
  • 12. Secondary Agriculture • Processing/manufacturing v. farming • “Incident to or in conjunction with” • Many factors used to decide whether something is secondary agriculture • Critical inquiry: whether something is an “established” part of agriculture. 29 C.F.R. pt. 780 (2013). For educational purposes only. Please consult an attorney for specific questions.
  • 13. Issues • Exempt + nonexempt work in same week • Agricultural practices of 1938 versus 2013 • For example, • On-farm retail • Off-farm retail • Collaborative and cooperative farming • More diversified operations • Regional differences in agricultural practices • Agency silos/conflicting messages • DOL vs. USDA For educational purposes only. Please consult an attorney for specific questions.
  • 14. Potential Solutions • Statutory • Congress change definition of agriculture in Code • Congress tell DOL to change/update interpretation of “agriculture” definition • Regulatory • DOL to modify and broaden interpretation of “incidental to/in conjunction with” • Other • Encourage agencies to work together on this (USDA and DOL, in particular) • Education of farmers For educational purposes only. Please consult an attorney for specific questions.
  • 15. Thank you! For educational purposes only. Please consult an attorney for specific questions.
  • 16. Alli Condra Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic acondra@law.harvard.edu 617-390-2556 For educational purposes only. Please consult an attorney for specific questions.

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