Category Archives: Employee Tip – H-1B

Successful DOL Decision for H-1B Worker/Surgeon With Complaint Against Southern Illinois University School of Medicine

An H-1B worker represented by the attorney-author and his co-counsel was awarded $223,884.27 in unpaid wages, in the decision and order below, by the Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

Our client is a surgeon who formerly worked as an H-1B employee for the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine (SIU School of Medicine), in the job position of Assistant Professor in the Department and Division of General Surgery.

OALJ’s order found that SIU SM underpaid the H-1B worker, and failed to pay her the required actual wage, as compared to wages that SIU SM paid other surgeons in the same department and division who had the same Assistant Professor position.

SIU School of Medicine has refused to pay the unpaid wages, and has appealed the order. The H-1B worker has appealed one issue in the order, and will argue on appeal that she is owed over $200,000 in additional unpaid wages related to “clinical” compensation paid pursuant to compensation terms of SIU School of Medicine and its affiliate SIU Physicians & Surgeons, aka SIU Healthcare. She will present legal arguments that per the employer’s terms and arrangements, the “clinical” compensation was not assured (e.g. sometimes it was not paid or was subject to retroactive deductions, etc.) and it did not fulfill H-1B regulatory criteria necessary for the compensation to count toward required wages.

The attorney-author is actively investigating SIU School of Medicine’s wage practices, not only with regard to their employees who worked as H-1B workers, but also with regard to female workers employed by SIU School of Medicine, regardless whether such female workers were employed as US citizens, as H-1B workers or otherwise. 

I would be interested in hearing from physicians or other medical workers who have been employed by SIU School of Medicine anytime during the last seven years and: (1) have been employed as an H-1B worker; or (2) have been a female physician or medical worker of any citizenship or visa status while employed by SIU School of Medicine.

If you wish to discuss any of these matters, please contact attorney Michael Brown at 920-757-2488 or mbrown@dvglawpartner.com.

The referenced DOL decision is below:

 

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Right to a Written Decision for Dept. of Labor H-1B Wage Complaint

**This post was cross-posted at my other blog www.h1blegalrights.com.

If you’re an H-1B worker and filed a wage complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), you have a right to receive a written decision from DOL. DOL’s written decision must state important information, including: (1) if you are owed wages or not; (2) the reasons for the decision; and (3) your rights to appeal the decision, if you feel it is wrong, and the procedure and deadline to appeal it.

The attorney-authors of this blog have had some H-1B workers/ clients tell us that DOL did not issue them a written decision for their wage complaint. In some instances, the DOL investigator only told the H-1B worker the decision over the phone, did not give much detail about the reason behind the decision, and did not describe appeal rights or procedures.

Please know that you do have rights. If DOL is not allowing you to pursue those rights, you may need to tell DOL what they are required to do under the laws and regulations.

Specifically, the H-1B wage complaint regulation at 20 CFR 655.815 describes what a DOL investigator must do after investigating your H-1B wage complaint. In particular, this regulation says DOL must:

1. Mail a written decision (called a “determination) to you, the H-1B employer, and certain other people involved in the case.

2. This written determination must state DOL’s decision about your case and the reason for the decision. If DOL determines the employer has violated the laws or regulations, the decision must describe the remedies, such as back wages owed to you.

3. The determination must also explain appeal rights, how to file an appeal and the filing deadline.

If the DOL investigator has made a decision in your case, but has not given you anything in writing, you can write or email the investigator and mention the above obligations. That is, you can mention that 20 CFR 655.815 requires DOL to provide you with a written decision and notification about your appeal rights.

Please note that the appeal filing deadline is extremely short. So it may be necessary to follow up with DOL as soon as possible, in writing or an email, and seek a prompt written determination. It is important to get clarity, as soon as possible, about an appeal deadline and procedures. If an appeal is not timely filed, you may forever lose your legal rights to appeal.

If you have not received a written determination from DOL and are unable to address your concerns on your own, you could consider consulting with an experienced attorney to determine your options for proceeding with your case and protecting your legal rights.

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Summary Judgment Motion by H-1B Workers in Case Against Access Therapies, RN Staff et al

A summary judgment motion and brief were filed (link to the brief is here), by H-1B workers represented by the attorney-authors, with regard to the  case against Access Therapies, Inc., and RN Staff Inc. d/b/a Rehability Care, and associated company representatives.

Please contact attorney Michael Brown at 920-757-2488 if you have any information or questions about the case.

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Indianapolis News Station Report About Our H-1B Worker Class Action Versus Access Therapies

An Indianapolis TV station, ABC-affiliate RTV6, recently released a published news report and video about a case the attorney-authors are working on, Panwar et. al. v. Access Therapies et. al.

This federal class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of a proposed class of H-1B workers against Access Therapies, Inc., RN Staff Inc. d/b/a Rehability Care, and an associated representative of the companies. The lawsuit alleges that Access Therapies and related entities systematically “bench” and underpay H-1B workers as part of a scheme that violates civil laws including forced labor laws, wage laws, contract law, and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

The RTV6 news report discusses the case, and interviews various attorneys about the case and Access Therapies.

The attorney-authors Michael Brown and Vonda Vandaveer are among the attorneys representing the H-1B worker who filed the lawsuit, along with attorney Daniel Kotchen and Kotchen & Low LLP.

Please contact attorney Michael Brown at 920-757-2488 if you have any information or questions about the case.

You can also link here to review more information about the Access Therapies case and the latest Complaint, which details the case allegations about H-1B workers being underpaid and mistreated.

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New Complaint Filed in Our H-1B Underpaid-Worker Class Action Against Access Therapies, RN Staff Inc. d/b/a Rehability Care

The attorney-author of this blog, Michael Brown, and co-counsel colleagues have represented underpaid H-1B workers with a number of legal cases across the U.S., including a class action case pending in the Southern District of Indiana federal court.

This federal class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of a proposed class of H-1B workers against Access Therapies, Inc., RN Staff Inc. d/b/a Rehability Care, and an associated representative of the companies. The lawsuit alleges that Access Therapies and related entities systematically “bench” and underpay H-1B workers (and force workers to pay visa fees) as part of a scheme that violates civil laws including wage laws, contract law, and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

The attorney-author Michael Brown, along with Vonda Vandaveer, Daniel Kotchen and Kotchen & Low LLP, are among the attorneys representing the H-1B worker who filed the lawsuit.

Please contact attorney Michael Brown at 920-757-2488 if you have any information or questions about the case.

Scroll below if you’d like to review the latest Complaint, which details the case allegations about H-1B workers being underpaid and mistreated:

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H-1B End Clients With Blind Eyes?

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united states currency eye- IMG_7364_web (Photo credit: kevindean)

The attorney-authors have represented many H-1B workers, some of whom have done project work for some of the biggest companies in the U.S.  Some things that seem remarkable to us: (1) the epidemic of H-1B workers across the country who are underpaid or not paid during benched time and are not paid, underpaid or have delayed payment, even during project time; (2) the fact that this epidemic of H-1B underpayment is well-known in large social circles, including H-1B sponsor employers themselves, immigration attorneys, etc.; (3) the fact that many large U.S.-based corporations themselves sponsor H-1B workers (whom they usually pay their full required wages), BUT the same large employers often employ, as independent consultants for project work, H-1B consultants whose H-1B visas are sponsored by other, smaller, body-shop employers who systematically underpay the workers and violate H-1B laws per their business models and systemic practices.

Our question: don’t these large end-clients (at least some of them) know that their project consultants are sponsored by H-1B-bodyshops who underpay and mistreat the workers?

It seems implausible that so many large U.S. corporations use bodyshop H-1B consultants, but are not aware that these same workers are often victims of exploitation by their sponsor employers.  Are big companies turning a blind eye, and knowingly accepting the benefits of H-1B bodyshops’ dirty work?  We’d be curious for our readers’ thoughts on this issue.

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H-1B Body Shop Ordered To Pay More Than $740,000 in Back Wages

An H-1B IT body shop in Georgia was ordered to pay $741,288 in back wages to 73 employees who were unlawfully benched or required to pay visa and application processing fees.

The Department of Labor ordered Semafor Technologies LLC in Norcross to pay the back wages following an investigation into allegations of its unlawful practices. In addition to imposing back wage payments, DOL also has required the company to implement new payroll and time-keeping procedures to ensure future compliance with the H-1B program.

The company specializes in software development, on-site/off-site application outsourcing, infrastructure, consulting and product development services.

The DOL press release on the order is available here:

http://www.dol.gov/whd/media/press/whdpressVB2print.asp?pressdoc=Southeast/20120612.xml

If you have been unpaid or benched by your employer, you may have claims. You can learn more about your rights by talking to a competent attorney.

For more information about the legal services we offer H-1B workers, see our page here.

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