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:
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.
If you are an H-1B worker who has been underpaid or otherwise mistreated by an H-1B employer, you may be able bring your claims not only on your own behalf, but also on behalf of a class of similarly situated individuals. The attorney-authors of this blog, along with our attorney colleagues at the excellent class-action law firm Kotchen & Low, have litigated proposed class-action cases (as well as single-worker actions), in a variety of legal forums. When H-1B workers’ situations do in fact support class-action treatment of their claims, their lawsuit can be very strong.
This article describes various factors that support class treatment of H-1B workers’ claims, the nature of such class claims and forums they can be brought in. If you are an H-1B worker who is curious whether your situation could support a class-action case, this article will give some general educational information and food for thought.
Please note that only a competent attorney can adequately evaluate whether a valid class action would exist for your situation or should be pursued. So if you want legal advice about whether your own situation can be pursued as a class action, please consult with a competent attorney (if you’d like, you can have a free initial consultation with us, or with another attorney of your choice).
This article will first discuss some factors that could potentially support an H-1B class action.
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.
You know your employer is violating the law. Perhaps, he has benched you with no pay; is paying you less than the required wage; has you sending out resumes instead of writing a computer program.
So why do H-1B employees put up with this situation?
One of the main reasons an H-1B employee tolerates exploitation rather than filing a complaint against the employer is fear of being deported.
This fear is understandable, but protections do exist. Specifically, regulations prohibit the employer from threatening you and retaliating against you if you complain about his violations of the law. 20 CFR 655.801.
Read the full article on the blog H1BLegalRights.com.