Photo is originally owned by Lebanon Daily News.
According to reports, the U.S. Department of Labor confirmed last Wednesday that three companies have agreed to pay back wages to hundreds of foreign students who held their summer jobs at Hersheys Co.
Apparently, hundreds of foreign students from China, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, Turkey, and Ukraine previously protested due to unpaid back wages after having their summer jobs at the giant chocolate manufacturer.
In his statement, Hersheys spokesperson, Jeff Beckman, admitted that the warehouse and distribution center where the foreign students held their summer jobs are owned by Hersheys, but he affirmed that the company has nothing to do with the violation since it contracts its operation to another company, Exel Inc.
Aside from Exel Inc., two other companies cited for the violations are Westerville, Lemoyne-based SHS Group and the San Clemente, California-based Council for Educational Travel USA. All companies agreed to pay $213,042.00 in back wages to 1,028 foreign students. Apparently, $143,000.00 of the said monetary relief will come from Exel, while the $5,000.00 will be given by SHS, and the rest will be paid by the Council for Educational Travel USA.
Accordingly, the three companies overcharged the foreign students for housing, but reducing their wages below what they were supposed to receive, said the labor department.
In addition to the monetary relief, the companies are required to observe several labor laws and employment standards.
Meanwhile, to be totally cleared from all allegations, Hersheys recently decided not to hire people who hold J-1 Summer Work Travel Visa issued by the U.S. Department of State, Beckham added.
Unfortunately, such practice of outsourcing, subcontracting, or temporary hiring of agencies to cut cost of the federal wage, health, and safety standards is pretty unfair, said a Los Angeles labor lawyer.