Agriculture · Business · COVID-19

Foster Farms, Valley staffing agencies fined $3.8mil over COVID sick leave

California’s Labor Commissioner cited Foster Farms and three temporary staffing agencies for $3.8 million in fines for not informing 3,476 workers of the availability for COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave.

An investigation by the office was started in 2020 following a COVID-19 outbreak at the Livingston, Calif., poultry plant. This included an audit of payroll records, which indicated the agencies and Foster Farms did not inform temporary staff of paid sick leave policy.

“Employers who contract with staffing agencies have a joint responsibility to protect the health of their workers,” said Labor Commissioner Lilia García-Brower. “Employers are obligated to ensure that employees are made aware of sick leave benefits intended to protect workers, their families and the public from the spread of COVID-19.” 

The three staffing agencies – Viking Staffing CA LLC, Human Bees Inc., and Marcos Renteria Ag Services Inc. – will shoulder the cost alongside Foster Farms.

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Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.