The U.S. Department of Labor has three new inspectors in the Pacific Northwest and will be ramping up its inspections of agricultural employers this year, according to the Washington Farm Labor Association.

Last year, the department fined three Oregon blueberry growers a total of $240,000 for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. The act prohibits the shipment in interstate commerce of goods that were produced in violation of its minimum wage, overtime, or youth employment provisions and allows the Department of Labor to obtain injunctions to prohibit shipment of such “hot goods.”

Although the growers disputed the charges, they signed agreements with the department so they could continue to ship their fresh fruit rather than have it spoil because of a hot-goods injunction.

 The association is offering a Webinar on May 9, from 11 a.m. to noon, to explain what a hot goods injunction is and to help prepare growers to make sure they’re in compliance with labor laws.

The Webinar will be presented by Timothy Bernasek, partner at Oregon law firm Dunn Carney, and is free to WAFLA members. 

In addition, for those who missed the WAFLA Labor Conference in Yakima in February or need a refresher, the association has invited some of the breakout session speakers to repeat their presentations for a series of Webinars in May and June.  Topics include employment standards; hiring, progressive discipline, and termination; using farm labor contractors; and I-9 audits. 

For details and registration, go to the WAFLA Web site.