Bill Summaries: S 557 HARVEST OF DIGNITY/LABOR REFORMS.

Tracking:
  • Summary date: Apr 11 2011 - More information

    Identical to H 663, filed 4/6/11.

    Amends GS 95-36.1, clarifying that the Department of Labor (Department) must use the most current data available from its own database and from other sources, including state and federal departments and other governmental entities, to identify an employer for a special emphasis inspection. Adds a list of four specified items to be included in the written report on the impact of the special emphasis inspection program.
    Amends GS 95-223 (definitions applicable to the Migrant Housing Act), clarifying that migrant means an individual employed in agricultural employment and his dependents (deletes conditional language). Clarifies the definition for operator to mean any person who owns or controls migrant housing and any person who contracts with or employs an operator to provide him or her with migrants to perform agricultural employment. Adds definitions for reasonable cost and retaliatory action and makes other clarifying changes. Amends GS 95-224(a)(1), clarifying that the Migrant Housing Act applies to all operators and migrants except any operator who owns housing, regularly provides housing on a commercial basis to the general public, and provides housing to migrants of the same character and on the same or comparable terms and conditions as housing provided to the general public if more than 50% of the tenants are not migrants or their dependents.
    Amends GS 95-225 (standards and interpretations), adding that charges for migrant housing will not exceed reasonable cost, and the employer has the burden of providing reasonable cost through records or other credible evidence. Also adds that no migrant will be charged for heat or fuel for heat. Makes additional clarifying changes and adds standards applicable to migrant housing related to kitchen facilities, food preparation facilities, telephones, toilets, washing machines and dryers, locks, sleeping quarters, showers, and receiving visitors. Specifies that operators are responsible for all maintenance of the migrant housing unit and surrounding grounds. Amends GS 95-227 (enforcement of the Migrant Housing Act), clarifying that the Department must maintain a list of operators and the physical address of their migrant housing units, the total number of migrant housing units held by each operator, and a summary of complaints filed against each operator annually. Requires the Department to make a summary of inspections filed annually available to the general public within 15 days of request. Directs the Department to implement procedures to identify and prosecute the most serious violators of the Migrant Housing Act, and to maximize the efforts of personnel implementing the Act, as detailed. Specifies that the provisions of the Migrant Housing Act should be performed by Department employees who, to the extent feasible, are bilingual in English and Spanish. Also specifies that any right or obligation under the Migrant Housing Act is enforceable by civil action, in addition to other remedies at law and in equity. Makes other clarifying changes. Enacts new GS 95-227.1, prohibiting an owner from taking retaliatory action against a migrant because of the migrant's good faith attempt to exercise, secure, or enforce any rights or protections under the Migrant Housing Act or other law. Specifies that any right or obligation under the Migrant Housing Act is enforceable by civil action, in addition to other remedies at law and in equity. Makes a conforming change to GS 95-241(a)(1) to prohibit discrimination or retaliatory action against an employee with respect to the Migrant Housing Act.
    Amends GS 143-460 (definitions applicable to the NC Pesticide Law), adding definitions for employee and employer. Amends GS 143-466 to direct the NC Pesticide Board (Board) to adopt rules requiring recording of the date, time, and field location of worker reentry to the treated area after pesticide application. Further permits any employee or any representative of an employee who suspects that a violation of the Pesticide Law is occurring in any workplace where the employee is employed to request inspection of the workplace by notifying the Board or designated inspectors. Clarifies that employee names referred to in the notice of violation will not appear in any record published, released, or made available. Provides additional details regarding interviews, enforcement hearings, and statements relating to the violation. Amends GS 143-469, adding that a civil penalty not more than $20,000 per violation may be assessed if the Board finds a serious violation of the Pesticide Law, and the Board may assess an additional penalty of up to $100,000 for any violation that causes serious damage to the environment, serious injury to property, or serious injury to, or death of, any person. Permits the Board to use discretion when issuing fines. Makes conforming changes. Removes provision detailing penalties for pesticide applicators.
    Enacts new GS 95-275, adopting specified federal standards. States that employees must be provided prompt access to toilet facilities. Enacts new GS 95-276, directing the Department to adopt rules to prevent heat illness, as defined, in agricultural workers, as detailed.


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