Court Ruling

Court Ruling

Court Ruling. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Fruit Grower Report.

Harvest time is here and Dan Fazio with the Washington Farm Labor Association checks in on an on-going labor dispute that may affect farmers.

FAZIO: We are expecting another good sized crop, and I hope there will be enough pickers to get the fruit off the trees. I wanted to talk about a tough court opinion that came out last Friday. It involves the right of Department of Labor inspectors to come onto fields and interview workers while the workers are working.  Obviously, one would think that the DOL as a matter of courtesy would stop by the office and ask permission to enter the private property.

The 4th amendment to the Constitution comes into play in this particular case but Fazio says:

FAZIO: The DOL has a statute that says that its agents can enter any business at any time and question workers.  There is a long line of cases that says that these types of inspections need to be reasonable in time, place, and scope, and that is exactly what the judge ruled here.  In fact, the judge pretty much ruled that the DOL statute was unconstitutional. 

He says that these agencies really just need to be reasonable.

FAZIO: For example, they should check in at the office and be escorted down to the fields, and if they want to talk to workers, the farmer should provide a private place outside the field for them to speak with workers in private.  Heck, most farmers even allow workers to stay on the clock during these kinds of interviews.

That’s today’s Fruit Grower Report. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network. 

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