In this file photo, seasonal agricultural workers, holding H-2A visas, get instructions from the crew leader before picking cauliflower on a farm in Greenfield, California, in April of 2018.

BOISE — U.S. Department of Labor investigators found two east Idaho agricultural employers failed to properly pay and house their workers under the H-2A temporary agriculture worker visa program.

The investigations resulted in both employers having to pay a combined $24,625 in back wages to 19 employees.

According to a U.S. Department of Labor press release, the department’s Wage and Hour Division found Alan Brown, a commercial beekeeper and honey producer in Soda Springs, paid a U.S. worker less than an H-2A worker for the same work and failed to pay transportation costs and other expenses for H-2A workers traveling to and from Peru.

The department also found Brown failed to meet housing safety and health requirements under the H-2A program and did not meet frequency of pay requirements to his workers.

According to the press release, investigators found Brown also kept the H-2A workers’ passports and visas, did not give his workers pay statements, failed to pay the required rates and made impermissible pay deductions from workers’ earnings.

In a separate investigation by the department, investigators found Forrest Arthur, a sheepherder and grower in Paul, Idaho, failed to reimburse H-2A workers from Peru and Mexico for transportation expenses to and from their home countries, failed to pay the required rates of pay to some workers and failed to meet required housing and transportation safety requirements.

“Investigations like these demonstrate the continued need for agricultural employers to understand and abide by the labor provisions of the H-2A visa program,” Thomas Silva, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour District director in Portland, said in the release.

Rachel Spacek is the Latino Affairs and Canyon County reporter for the Idaho Press. You can reach her at Follow her on twitter @RachelSpacek.