Iowa company hit with nearly $10 million in fines for wage violations


Agriprocessors, Inc., the site of a major immigration sweep in May, has been fined nearly $10 million by the state of Iowa for wage violations.
Nearly 400 people were arrested during a raid of the plant May 12 by ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Agriprocessors is the largest kosher meatpacking plant in the United States.

The fines announced Wednesday by Labor Commissioner Dave Neil are for failing to pay workers and illegally charging them for sales taxes, “miscellaneous costs” and clothing between Jan. 1, 2006, and June 30, 2008.

“Once again, Agriprocessors has demonstrated a complete disregard for Iowa law,” Neil said. “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. A total of 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.

The state reported 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 16 and May 23 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.