Fear is the biggest factor that holds many H-1B workers back from approaching their employer (or former employer), and asking for their underpaid wages, or from taking legal action.
H-1B workers do in fact have several options and legal rights. Some of those rights are very powerful.
However, those rights will not do you any good unless you are willing to pursue them. To fight to enforce your rights. To make educated and bold decisions, and stick to them. To know that, in order to achieve what you want to, you will have to take on some risks.
A fraudulent H-1B employer has many more risks than an underpaid H-1B worker does. Many H-1B employers would be willing to discuss an amicable settlement with an underpaid H-1B worker rather than deal with a legal action, and face the potentially severe liabilities. Yet the employers don’t seem to worry nearly as much as do the H-1B employees.
If you are an H-1B worker, and are too fearful to talk to your employer about unpaid wages, I can understand where you’re coming from, and I could never judge you for feeling that way.
However, I do ask that you not contact me, asking me to spend hours of time discussing legal rights that you know you’d never pursue anyway, because of your fears. Only if it’s possible you could commit to assuming some risks and pursuing your rights could an attorney possibly help you.
If you don’t take action, you may well face risks (e.g. an employer’s underpayments could be hurting your immigration status). If you do take action, you may well face risks (e.g. the employer may threaten deportation). You’ve got to deal with your situation.
In dealing with your situation: (1) don’t let fear control you; (2) know the risks are there, and that you must deal with them; (3) educate yourself about your legal rights and options; (4) learn what options present the lowest risks and highest potential benefits; (5) make an educated decision; and (6) don’t second-guess yourself. Only if you are willing to overcome your fear and accept risks would you have any chance to obtain what you’re owed, and to improve your immigration status and options.
For more H-1B employee rights information, please visit the blog www.h1blegalrights.com.
To learn more about H-1B rights and options, please see these posts:
For information about H-1B Rights & Immigration Rights Attorneys Michael F. Brown and Vonda K. Vandaveer, please visit here.