Do you work in a Dairy?
Authored By: Legal Aid Services of Oregon
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Do you work at a Dairy?
Dairy work is difficult, and the workers are often isolated, living in marginal farm-provided housing. Dairy workers often work long hours, from early in the morning until late in the evening, six or seven days a week. During the course of a shift, dairy workers may get kicked by a cow, breathe toxic gases, milk hundreds of cows, and they are expected to do it all without complaining. But dairy workers enjoy many workers protections provided by Oregon law, and should not be taken advantage of by their employer.
Did you know that dairy workers are entitled to receive Oregon's $9.50 per hour minimum wage? That means that your employer must pay you at least $9.50 for every hour that you work, regardless of a salary arrangement you may have. Are your family members working with you? They are entitled to receive the minimum wage as well. Your son, daughter, or husband or wife does not have to work with you without getting paid.
Certain chemicals that dairy workers use while working may cause people to become sick if not used properly. If you or a family member becomes ill, and yout think it might be related to your work, go to a doctor. Remember to write down the names of any chemicals you have been using, or bring in any chemical data sheets that you may have.
Dairy workers, like most other agricultural workers, should not fear retaliation for asserting workplace safety standards or for making a Worker's Compensation claim. It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against you for making a claim or encouraging safety standards.