Monthly Archives: April 2012

One-Year Deadline Passed for an H-1B Wage Complaint at DOL? There May Still Be Options For Getting Your Wages

If you are an H-1B worker with unpaid wages, as we have described before, there is a 1-year deadline for a particular type of legal complaint you could pursue.  That is, there is 1-year deadline to file a WH-4 complaint at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

We have found that many H-1B workers (whether they have read our blog or not) are aware that a WH4 complaint can be pursued at DOL as a way to seek unpaid wages.

However, some H-1B workers who are past the 1-year deadline for a WH4 complaint may assume they have lost their chance to pursue unpaid wages.

Please know that often this is not the case.  There often are options an H-1B worker can consider when the unpaid wages were earned more than one year ago.  For example, several Federal and State laws (unlike the H-1B regulations and WH4 process) allow deadline periods of 2-6 years to pursue unpaid wages.  So, if an H-1B worker’s employer had failed to pay wages that were due more than a year ago, that worker– while not having options at DOL per the WH4  complaint process– may well have options under other Federal or State laws.  The attorney-authors of this blog can speak to this firsthand, as we have represented H-1B workers in several legal actions with legal claims seeking wages owed from several years prior.

The take-home points for you, as an underpaid H-1B worker, are these: (1) if you’re owed wages from more than one year ago, don’t assume you are beyond all legal deadlines to pursue those wages, unless a competent attorney tells you that following a consultation; and (2) if you are interested in a potential legal complaint, promptly have an attorney evaluate your situation, potential legal claims, and deadlines.  The longer you wait, the more likely it is that all applicable legal deadlines will pass.

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Filed under Considering Legal Action - Employee, Employee Tip - H-1B, H-1B

Getting Your Unpaid Wages Is a PROCESS

Before they retained us, many underpaid workers we represent had tried to get their unpaid wages by themselves and without an attorney. The workers tried to (1) get the wages directly from the employer, via complaining or negotiating; (2) filed a legal complaint with a government agency; or (3) took both of these actions.

Many underpaid workers who take action without an attorney are unsuccessful. There are a number of reasons for this, not all of which we’ll discuss in this article.

But one big reason underpaid workers fail to obtain their wages is this: they do not know that obtaining unpaid wages is a process.

Flow chart of the decision-making process iden...

You cannot expect unpaid wages to be paid to you until the required process has been completed.  Much like a baby cannot be born unless and until a process (namely, pregnancy) has taken place, as well as the related passage of time needed for that process (often, close to 9 months), and the related work (addressing medical needs, dietary and physical needs, etc.).

Do you know all the different processes that could lead to you obtaining your unpaid wages?  Do you know all the potential risks and benefits of pursuing each process (and are you SURE about that)? Do you know which process is the best one to pursue?  Do you know how much time that process is likely to take, and all the work/tasks that are necessary for that process?

If you don’t have good answers to these questions, an experienced wage attorney will.  That’s not to say you must retain an attorney, or that you must pursue any particular process.  But if you fail to realize there IS a process involved with an unpaid wage matter, and fail to consider the questions above, then you are less likely to be successful in obtaining your unpaid wages and otherwise achieving what you want to.

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Filed under Employee Tips - Unpaid Wages