Agricultural Workers Rights

California law requires employers to provide all employees a safe and healthy working environment regardless of the industry in which they work. Agricultural workers have additional rights due to the nature of the work that they perform. All agricultural workers have legal rights regardless of their immigration status.

Under California law, your employer must provide:

  • Training about health and safety, including information on pesticides and other chemicals.
  • Potable drinking water, suitably cool and in sufficient amounts—dispensed in single- use drinking cups or by fountains, located so as to be readily accessible to all employees.
  • One toilet and handwashing facility for each 20 employees of each sex, located within a quarter mile walk, or if not feasible, at the closest point of vehicular access. As an alternative to providing the required toilet and handwashing facilities themselves, employers may transport employees conducting hand-labor operations to toilet and handwashing facilities under either of the following circumstances:
    • When employees perform field work for a period of less than two hours (including time spent traveling to and from the field), or
    • When fewer than five employees in the establishment are engaged in hand-labor operations on any given day. Pre-moistened towelettes cannot be substituted for handwashing facilities
  • Maintenance in accordance with public health sanitation practices, including: upkeep of water quality through daily change or as often as needed; toilets kept clean, sanitary, and operational; handwashing facilities refilled with potable water as necessary, and kept clean and sanitary; and the prevention of any unsanitary conditions through waste disposal.
  • Opportunity for reasonable use, through notification of each employee by the employer of the location of the water and the facilities, and the allowance of reasonable opportunities during the workday to use them. The employer also must inform the employee of the relevant health hazards in the field and the practices necessary to minimize exposure to them.
  • Payment for emergency care and transportation if you get hurt or sick because of your job. You may also be entitled to lost wages.
  • At least the minimum wage, $8.25 per hour. In some cases, employers can pay 85% of the minimum wage during your first 160 hours, if you have no previous similar experience. Call toll-free (888) 275-9243 for more information.
  • Employers that are violating these worker rights are subject to fines. The Cal/OSHA enforcement unit has jurisdiction over all employers in California. To report an injury or workplace violation, you can contact the local Cal/OSHA Enforcement Unit Office closest to you by accessing local office listings or you can submit a form online.

You also have a right to:

  • Report health and safety problems.
  • Work without racial or sexual harassment.
  • Refuse to work if the job is immediately dangerous to your life or health.
  • Join or organize a union.

Housing and Transportation

The Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act requires farm labor contractors, agricultural employers, and agricultural associations who recruit, solicit, hire, employ, furnish, transport or house agricultural workers, as well as providers of migrant housing, to meet certain minimum requirements in their dealings with migrant and seasonal agricultural workers.

Each person who owns or controls housing provided to migrant agricultural workers must ensure that the facility complies with the federal and state safety and health standards covering that housing. Migrant housing may not be occupied until it has been inspected and certified to meet these safety and health standards. The certification of occupancy must be posted at the site.

Each vehicle used to transport migrant or seasonal agricultural workers must be properly insured and operated by a properly licensed driver. Each such vehicle must also meet federal and state safety standards.

For more information on the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, please visit the U.S. Department of Labor website or call 1-866-4-USADOL. California’s agricultural and service sectors contribute tremendously to the state’s economic