Beliz v W.H. McLeod & Sons Packing Co

Beliz v W.H. McLeod & Sons Packing Co - Beliz v....

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1 765 F.2d 1317 (5th Cir. 1985) U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ALVIN B. RUBIN, Circuit Judge: To meet his harvesting needs, a South Carolina farmer engaged a farm labor contractor to recruit migrant workers in Texas and transport them to South Carolina. While the contractor was registered as required by the Farm Labor Contractor Registration Act …his registration did not authorize him to transport and house workers, and the contractor committed several other statutory violations while providing the workers to the farmer. The district court found that the farmer did not check the contractor's registration, as the [Farm Labor Contractor Registration Act] required, provided substandard housing for the workers, and did not obtain or maintain statutorily required payroll records. The court rendered judgment in favor of each migrant worker and against the farmer for $200 and against the contractor for $500, for statutory violations [of the Farm Labor Contractor Registration Act]. . . The court further found that the farmer was not the workers' "employer" under the Fair Labor Standards Act… and that the workers could not recover unpaid minimum wages from the contractor because they had not proved the number of hours they had worked. On the workers' appeal, we reverse the judgment in part, for we conclude that the farmer was liable as an employer for wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act and that the workers were not to be faulted for their inability to prove their hours of work. We remand for further proceedings in accordance with that Act . . . I. The case turns on the relationship among Waldo Galan, a registered farm labor contractor who lived in Dimmitt, Texas, W.H. McLeod and Sons Packing Company (McLeod), a South Carolina agricultural producer that grew, harvested, and shipped cucumbers, tomatoes, and beets in Beaufort County, South Carolina, and three families of migrant workers who traveled from Texas to South Carolina in May 1979 to pick crops in McLeod's fields at the solicitation of Galan. McLeod, a partnership owned and operated by two cousins, W.H. ("Mac") McLeod, Jr. and Claude E. McLeod, Jr., ships vegetables in interstate commerce. The company owns the land on which it grows its vegetables, the farm implements and machinery necessary to the growing operation, and a packing house where the produce is graded, packed, and loaded onto trucks for delivery to market. McLeod directly employs six to eight full-time tractor drivers, an employee to supervise the tractor drivers, and a full-time mechanic. It harvests and packs vegetables in May and June of each year, using a seasonal work force of company employees to operate its packing house during the harvest and packing season. The seasonal harvesting is performed by two, sometimes three, crews of harvest
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2 workers. One of these harvest crews consists of local farm workers and additional labor is provided by migrant farm workers. Galan recruited migrant workers to work on various crops in different seasons. He had
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Beliz v W.H. McLeod & Sons Packing Co - Beliz v....

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