Late last year, a Newark, New Jersey based company was fined $638,449 in back wages and interest by the United States Department of Labor (DOL) for violating H-1B provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. In addition, the company and its owner were fined $126,778 in civil penalties for failing to provide notice of the filing of labor condition applications (LCA) at each place where any H-1B worker was to be employed.
Nancy J. Leppink, deputy administrator of the DOL said the following:
“Peri Software not only took advantage of these workers by not properly compensating them, it also violated the part of the law that provides the greatest protection to the American workforce… When companies participating in the H-1B program do not post filed labor condition applications, they clearly undercut American workers who may be qualified for available employment but aren’t aware of it.”
Under law, an employer has to post a copy of the LCA it files on behalf of an H-1B worker at the worker’s place of employment for 10 consecutive business days. Even though this requirement can be cumbersome for consulting companies where employees are constantly changing client locations, this case proves that employers must remain diligent about following these rules or face the possibility of severe DOL action.
Based on the economy and the general anti-immigrant climate facing the country right now, we expect these fines, audits, and civil/criminal actions against employers to increase in the coming years.
Compliance Assistance Available
If you are an employer who hires foreign H-1B professional workers and are unsure about the legal obligations you must follow, make sure to contact a qualified immigration attorney immediately or visit our website for a list of clear and easy-to-access information and assistance on how to comply with the Immigration and Nationality Act. Among the many resources available are:
More detailed information may also be obtained by contacting the Office of Foreign Labor Certification or the Wage and Hour Division directly (1-866-4USWAGE/1-866-487-9243). Information on how to submit a petition requesting an H-1B, H-1B1, or E-3 visa may be obtained from USCIS.