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Federal court orders Central Coast farm labor contractor to pay $1 million in back pay and penalties


Investigators say the company's violations included putting workers in substandard housing, and failing to properly feed foreign workers in visa program

A federal court ordered a Santa Barbara County based farmer labor contractor to pay more than a million dollars in back wages and penalties, after a federal agency found it violated labor laws.

They say Rancho Nueva Harvesting of Santa Maria was responsible for multiple violations in Ventura, Fresno and Riverside Counties.

One of the biggest claims was that Rancho Nueva frequently underpaid workers.

The charges included housing workers in substandard housing, failing to provide safe transportation from housing to work sites, and supplying the workers with insufficient, and in some cases spoiled food.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.