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I-9 E-Verify Immigration Compliance

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  1. Metropolitan Concrete Corp. owes over $100,000 Due to Violations in H-2B Visa Program

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law



    Following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Metropolitan Concrete Corp. will pay $29,161 in civil money penalties and $73,647 in back wages to 15 employees working under the H-2B non-immigrant visa program.

    WHD investigators found Metropolitan Concrete Corp. classified the H-2B employees improperly as landscapers. The investigation determined the H-2B employees actually worked as cement masons and concrete finishers, and as such, the employer should have paid them at a higher prevailing wage rate. The company also should have advertised the position to potential U.S. workers using the correct job classification and prevailing wage rate, as required by the H-2B provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Failing to do so may have resulted in fewer U.S. workers applying for the positions than would have occurred if the employer advertised accurate information.

    Investigators also found Metropolitan Concrete failed to comply with requirements to pay the employees’ inbound transportation costs and to provide workers with the tools, supplies, or equipment they need to perform their job duties. The company also took impermissible deductions from workers’ pay for housing expenses. In addition to the payment of back wages, the Division assessed $29,161 in civil penalties.

    If you want to know more information on immigration compliance, I recommend you read The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, a book I co-authored with Greg Siskind, and available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.
  2. OSC Settlement Bars Company from H-2B Program for 3 Years

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC), a part of the Justice Department, reached a settlement agreement with Barrios Street Realty Inc., a company in Lockport, Louisiana. The agreement resolves claims that the company and its agent, Jorge Arturo Guerrero Rodriguez, engaged in a pattern or practice of citizenship discrimination against U.S. workers by preferring to hire foreign workers under the H-2B visa program.

    The OSC’s investigation found in July 2014, Barrios Street Realty and Guerrero Rodriguez failed to consider or improperly rejected 73 U.S. workers who applied for positions as sheet metal roofers or laborers, and then solicited foreign workers to fill these positions. The OSC determined the company’s applications for foreign workers falsely claimed that its earlier efforts to fill the sheet metal and laborer positions failed to identify qualified U.S. workers. Refusing to consider or hire qualified U.S. workers because of their citizenship violates H-2B regulations and the Immigration and Nationality Act’s (INA) anti-discrimination provision.

    Under the settlement, Barrios Street Realty must create a back pay fund of $115,000 to compensate U.S. workers, pay $30,000 in civil penalties and be subject to monitoring for a three-year period. In addition, Barrios Street Realty acknowledged that its misuse of the H-2B visa program constituted valid grounds for debarment from the program and agreed to a voluntary debarment prohibiting it from seeking H-2B visa workers or any other classification of non-immigrant visa workers from the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration for a period of three years.

    The settlement agreement also requires Barrios Street Realty to provide the OSC, upon its request, a copy of every job application/resume submitted to Barrios Street Realty and a record of action on that job application. Furthermore, Barrios Street Realty’s HR employees must attend training sessions conducted by OSC on the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, the company must revise its immigration compliance practices in regards to non-discrimination, and submit any proposed changes to the OSC for their approval.

    This represents the first time the OSC has obtained a voluntary debarment as a remedy for violating the INA’s anti-discrimination provision.
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