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Accordint to Patrick Moody from Barsamian & Moody, California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) has been doing “field inspections” in the central San Joaquin Valley.  A three-member CRLA team happened to be following a grower’s van transporting workers to a field.  The van was towing a field sanitation rig, including toilets and drinking water, when a tire on the rig went flat.  The driver stopped, unhitched the rig, and took the workers to the field so he could go back and deal with the flat.  The CRLA followed him right into the field, and began accusing him of field sanitation violation by not having toilets, etc.  Rather than ordering them out of the field, he tried to placate them and eventually left to go get a replacement rig.  When he got back, the CRLA team demanded to see the inside of the drinking water container and, according to the grower rep, when they opened the lid, they did so in a way that allowed dust from the top of the container to fall into the water.  The CRLA then sent a letter to the grower saying that the grower is now on notice of field sanitation violations, and that if there are any more, they will pursue OSHA violations and claim that the violations are “serious” due to the prior notice.

Two important items stem from this report.  First, as many of you already know, this is not unusual conduct on the part of certain CRLA employees.  Second, and most importantly, you must train your field personnel that the CRLA has no right whatsoever to enter your fields.  None.  They are trespassing when they do so, but it is up to each individual grower to defend their own property rights.  Always ask for ID from anybody who comes to your fields, and if they are not a legitimate state or federal agent, ask them to leave.  If they do not do so, call your local sheriff and have them removed.