Category Archives: 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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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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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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Employees Among Those Charged in Recent H-1B and Green Card Fraud Bust

While the recent H-1B and green card fraud bust has been applauded for focusing attention on abusive and exploitative H-1B employers and “bodyshops,” short shrift has been given to the fact that several H-1B employees were also indicted for their alleged participation in the scheme.

Of the 11 people arrested last week, eight were employees. The employees were indicted as co-conspirators based on their alleged role in obtaining H-1B visas and seeking permanent residency by fraud, according to redacted indictments filed in U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Iowa.

Read more at the blog h1blegalrights.com.

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