The Labor Department reached a settlement on Wednesday that recovers $213,000 in back wages for 1,028 foreign students who were summer employees in what many said were abusive conditions at a factory in Palmyra, Pa., that packed Hershey's chocolates. Three companies -- the SHS Group, the Council for Educational Travel-USA, and Exel -- agreed to the settlement after the Labor Department accused them of overcharging the students for housing, reducing their wages to levels below those required by minimum wage and overtime laws. Hershey's was not accused of wrongdoing because it contracted with Exel to operate the packing plant. The students were in Pennsylvania as part of a State Department-sanctioned education program, but the department has terminated the Council for Education Travel-USA as a program sponsor for forcing the students to do arduous factory work. Under a separate agreement with the Labor Department, Exel will pay $143,000 in penalties for excessive workplace noise and for failing to keep proper records about workplace injuries.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.