3 firms to pay back wages to foreign students

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HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) -- Three companies have agreed in a federal settlement to pay back wages to hundreds of foreign students for summer jobs they held in Hershey.

The U.S. Labor Department said Wednesday the settlement also provides fines for two of the companies.

Ohio-based Exel Inc., Lemoyne-based SHS Group and California-based Council for Educational Travel, USA, agreed to pay $213,042 in back wages to 1,028 foreign students who held summer jobs repackaging candy. The Hershey Co. owns the facility but was not accused of wrongdoing because it was operated by Exel.

The Labor Department says the companies overcharged the students for housing, reducing their wages below what they were supposed to be paid.

Exel agreed to pay $143,000 in fines for excessive workplace noise, while SHS was fined $5,000 for other violations.