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Here's the Donald Trump nominee you should pay attention to if you want the government to police the FLDS

Published July 14, 2017 1:39 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Trump Administration is still filling some of its appointments. An expected nominee in an agency you probably haven't heard of could have an impact on the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Her name is Cheryl Stanton and, according to Bloomberg News, is expected to be the administration's nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division.

In short, that division makes sure people are paid what the law says people should be paid. It's had a big impact on at least two FLDS businesses and perhaps former FLDS bishop Lyle Jeffs.



The Wage and Hour Division took a company ran by FLDS members, Paragon Contracting Corp., to court after children, without pay and in difficult working conditions, helped pick pecans at a ranch near Hurricane in 2012. Paragon has been ordered to pay $200,000 to reimburse the workers, and could be required to pay more if all that money is spent.

Jeffs, is alleged to have ordered the children to the ranch, and officers in Paragon have been fined about $2 million. Paragon is appealing the case.

In another case brought to court by the Wage and Hour Division, a construction company operated by FLDS members, Phaze Concrete, agreed to repay two teenage workers $72,269 each in back wages.

In both the Paragon and Phaze cases, the companies are under orders not to commit any future wage violations. If they do, the penalties could be stiffer next time.

Of course, that would require the Wage and Hour Division to enforce the rules and the orders next time, too. That's why the division's leadership is important. Theoretically, Stanton — or whoever is leading the agency — could divert resources elsewhere.

As with any presidential nominee, there's debate and concern about what Stanton would enforce or what rules she would change as director of the Wage and Hour Division. Some of those debates touch on nuanced interpretations or details of employment law.

So it should be pointed out that the cases against Paragon and Phaze were pretty straightforward. Did the kids work and did they get paid for working, the division's lawyer asked?

In the Paragon case, there was some discussion of whether families were paid in a mix of money and pecans, but a judge found the kids weren't adequately paid for their work.

ncarlisle@sltrib.com

Twitter: @natecarlisle

 

 

 

 

 

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