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Workplace protections for those in the agriculture industry

Many Californians work in the agriculture industry. These hardworking men and women often conduct what many others consider back-breaking labor for lesser wages. Some people even consider these workers to be taken advantage of by their employers, and they may be right. Yet, workers in the agriculture industry have many protections under California law. In addition to the standard hour and wage laws in place that seek to protect workers’ pay, there are also laws and regulations on the books to help ensure a safe and sanitary workplace.

For example, agricultural workers are to have access to potable water. This water has to be easily accessible to all workers at all times. Additionally, the water must be fresh, pure and cool. Workers should be able to drink adequate amounts of water, and the water should be given to them in single-use cups. Employers cannot ask employees to drink from the same jug or dipper.

Another protection for agricultural workers is access to toilets and handwashing stations. For every 20 employees, an employer must provide one toilet for each sex and one handwashing station. If there are less than five workers, then a single toilet is suitable so long as it locks on the inside. It is worth noting that an employer can satisfy this requirement if they provide transportation to such facilities so long as the employees are only in the field for two hours, there are less than five employees engaged in hand-labor on any given day or there are no employees participating in hand-labor activities on that day.

Unfortunately, though, far too many employers fail to give their employees the protections they deserve, whether they regard compensation or workplace environment. When these employers step out of line, wronged employees should consider taking legal action, as employment claims may lead to the recovery of compensation and ensure that civil rights are protected.

Source: California Code, “Section 3457. Field Sanitation,” accessed on March 6, 2017


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