Agriprocessors fined $9.9 million by Iowa state agency

by Keith Nunes
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DES MOINES — Agriprocessors, Inc., a meat processor and slaughterer based in Postville, Iowa, was assessed $9,988,200 in proposed civil penalties by Iowa’s Labor Commissioner for violations of the state’s wage laws from Jan. 1, 2006, to June 30, 2008.

A penalty of $100 was assessed for every incidence when an employee was charged for the frocks they used while working for the company. The charge occurred on 93,643 occasions and resulted in a total penalty of $9,643,600.

Additional fines included $339,700 for illegally deducting sales tax/miscellaneous costs 3,397 times. Over 1,000 employees were affected by the deductions. The company also failed to pay 42 employees their last paychecks on May 16 and May 23 following a raid by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. A penalty of $4,900 was assessed for the violation.

Agriprocessors has 30 days to contest the proposed penalties. The state agency also noted that an additional investigation is still ongoing and may lead to additional civil penalties.

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