Business/In Brief • Apr. 12, 2014

Hawaii herb and vegetable farm settles labor charges

HONOLULU – A Hawaii farm has agreed to settle a Department of Labor complaint that charged the farm underpaid its workers by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Fat Law’s Farm, a Waipahu herb and vegetable farm, will pay workers more than $430,000 in back wages and penalties to settle the federal claim.

The settlement states that Fat Law’s violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by paying employees no more than $5 per hour, by withholding overtime pay and by neglecting to keep proper employment records.

Kathryn Xian, the founder of the Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery, says her organization became aware of abuses at the farm more than two years ago when migrant workers at the farm sought help. The Honolulu anti-human trafficking advocacy group then urged federal authorities to investigate.


Group opposes Kauai dairy farm plan in letter to county

LIHUE- A group of biologists and residents is opposing plans for a dairy farm on Kauai, claiming the project is moving forward without proper permits and will have harmful environmental impacts.

In a letter to the county earlier this month, the group urged the Department of Public Works to take a closer look at Hawaii Dairy Farms, which hopes to begin producing milk for customers next year on more than 580 acres in Mahaulepu.

“We, the undersigned, believe that HDF has amply demonstrated their disregard for the environment, willingness to play fast and loose with their facts, such that they cannot be entrusted with so precious an area,” Koloa resident Bridget Hammerquist and 14 others wrote in the letter.

Signatures include Don Heacock, a fisheries biologist with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, and Carl Berg of the Surfrider Foundation Kauai chapter.