BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) — The United States Department of Labor was granted a preliminary injunction by the U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Louisiana in Baton Rouge on Monday, Oct. 4 against the owners of Rivet & Sons LLC for their treatment of migrant workers.
Rivet & Sons LLC is a 6,000-acre sugarcane and soybean farming business outside Baton Rouge with nine fields in Iberville and Pointe Coupee parishes. The company is an H-2 agriculture employer that hires foreign workers on special visas to perform agricultural work.
“The U.S. Department of Labor enforces laws that protect workers from abusive and unsafe workplaces,” Betty Campbell, southwest wage and hour regional administrator said. “Agricultural workers perform essential jobs to help feed U.S. consumers and support the nation’s economy.”
The U.S. Department of Labor was also granted a temporary restraining order by U.S. District Judge John W. deGravalles on Friday, Oct. 1 to stop a Rosedale farm operator from harassing workers. The operator allegedly threatened workers with a firearm.
According to an official U.S. Department of Labor press release, agricultural workers at Rivet & Sons LLC were denied adequate food and water by farm owner and operator Glynn Rivet.
“After the workers asked the owner’s son to help them get food and water, the owner yelled obscenities at the workers and threatened them with guns and fired near them,” the press release said.
The U.S. Department of Labor addressed the issue by filing a motion to prevent the owners from retaliating against the employees or denying any benefits that they are entitled to, such as food and water. The granted temporary restraining order stops the farm from violating federal agricultural and health and safety regulations.
“The U.S. Department of Labor will use every legal tool available to keep workers safe,” John Rainwater, regional solicitor of labor in Dallas, said. “Keeping America’s workers free from harm is at the core of what the department stands for.”
The motion specifically requested that the court stop Rivet from carrying a firearm within 1,500 feet of the workers, which was also granted. The motion states that Rivet can’t communicate, or be within 1,500 feet of any current or former employee, or enter the property where they work.
The preliminary injunction states that Rivet & Sons LLC must take certain measures to prohibit Rivet from entering the property, which includes the field and bunkhouses on Valverda Road in Maringouin, La. The company must install new locks on the outside doors and give the keys to the workers. If Rivet enters the property, the other owners, Brent or Clint Rivet, must ask him to leave or call the authorities if he refuses.