WHD Orders Companies To Pay Back Wages, Penalties for H-1B Violations
The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced on December 7, 2010, that it had obtained a consent order to recover $638,449 in back wages and interest from Peri Software Solutions, based in Newark, New Jersey, and its owner, Saravanan Periasamy, for H-1B violations. The company sponsored H-1B nonimmigrant programmer analysts to work in various locations in the U.S. The company and its owner also were fined $126,778 in civil money penalties and interest for failing to provide notice of the labor condition applications at each job site and for filing lawsuits against H-1B workers for early cessation of employment. The company and Mr. Periasamy also were debarred from participation in the H-1B program for one year.
WHD said common violations include the employer’s failure to post notice of the filing of labor condition applications at every worksite where an H-1B worker may be employed, and failure to pay nonimmigrant workers the required wage rate for all nonproductive time caused by conditions related to employment, such as lack of assigned work, lack of a permit, or studying for a licensing exam.
In another recent case, the Law Offices of Sergio Villaverde PLLC, a New York City law firm, was disqualified from the H-1B program for a period of two years for willfully violating prevailing wage requirements. The firm also has been ordered to pay a penalty of $2,250 and to pay one employee back wages totaling $31,954.
In 2003, the firm hired a nonimmigrant attorney from India as a full-time legal assistant and filed an H-1B labor condition application to allow the attorney to work legally in the U.S. An investigation by the WHD’s New York District Office determined that the firm paid the legal assistant less than the required prevailing wage from January 1, 2004, to June 30, 2006. In a recent decision and order, Labor Department Administrative Law Judge Jonathan Calianos ruled that the firm, having advertised its expertise in immigration law, willfully violated the H-1B prevailing wage requirements.