“Mr. Saenz, a citizen of Peru, came to Utah to work for the Allreds’ sheep ranch. His work was authorized by an H-2A sheepherding visa, and he was paid the minimum wage for H-2A sheepherders: $750 per month plus food and lodging. He now claims this pay was inadequate. He argues the work he performed did not qualify as sheepherding and the monthly wage for sheepherders did not apply. Instead, he argues, he was entitled to the hourly wage for H-2A ranch hands, which he now seeks to recover in contract and quantum meruit. Additionally, he argues the work he performed did not qualify for the “range production of livestock” exemption to the Fair Labor Standards Act minimum wage, 29 U.S.C. § 213(a)(6)(E), and he therefore asserts a minimum wage claim against the Allreds under the FLSA. The district court rejected these claims, denied Mr. Saenz’s summary judgment motion, and granted summary judgment to the Allreds. Its decision rested on two independent grounds. First, it ruled that Mr. Saenz’s claims were estopped because he did not object to his non-sheepherding work while the Allreds could have done something about it. Second, it ruled that more than half of Mr. Saenz’s work qualified as “range production of livestock,” and Mr. Saenz was accordingly exempt from the FLSA minimum wage and the H-2A wage for ranch hands. Mr. Saenz now appeals. We review the summary judgment rulings de novo, see Day v. Bond, 500 F.3d 1127, 1131 (10th Cir. 2007), and we reverse.”
It is one thing to bring workers from India and other countries to employ as software engineers for renowned Silicon Valley firms, such as eBay Inc., Apple Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. It’s another thing when you shortchange them and fail to pay the local prevailing wage while they’re here.
The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour investigators found such shortchanging when they looked into the labor practices of Scopus Consulting Group and Orian Engineers, two worker placement organizations in Sunnyvale. After the parties filed consent findings, federal Administrative Law Judge Stephen R. Henley ordered the two businesses owned by Kishore Kumar to pay 21 workers $84,000 in back wages and $103,000 in fines to the federal government.
“Some of the country’s most cutting-edge, successful organizations benefit from underpaid H-1B workers,” said Susana Blanco, director for the Wage and Hour Division in San Francisco. “H-1B workers must be paid local prevailing wages. We will not allow companies to undercut local wages and hurt U.S. workers and businesses who pay their workers fairly.”
The investigators found that Orian and Scopus Consulting violated the H-1B provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act as follows:
- by misrepresenting the prevailing wage level on the Labor Condition Applications required by the act.
- The employers also recruited experienced workers, most of whom have master’s degrees, and paid them as entry level employees.
Both firms have been debarred from H-1B program participation for one year. The investigators also cited the companies for failing to post a notice in the workplace about their applications to bring in foreign workers using the H-1B visa program, which would allow U.S. workers to learn about and apply for job openings.
The H-1B program applies to employers seeking to hire nonimmigrant aliens as workers in specialty occupations that require the application of highly specialized knowledge and at least a bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent. The H-1B provisions seek to help employers who cannot obtain needed business skills and abilities from U.S. workers and authorizes temporary employment of qualified individuals who otherwise are not authorized to work in the U.S.
If you feel that you have not been compensated for the hours you have worked you may call the law office for a FREE strictly confidential consultation about your claim for minimum wage or unpaid overtime wage violations at: (954) 948-8130. Or you can complete the simple form below for submission to us. Please be advised that by merely submitting this form, no Attorney-Client relationship is formed with the law firm. You must provide your name, home or cell phone number, your email address and your zip code in the form. We look forward to discussing your possible minimum wage and/or overtime pay violations claim We are passionate about defending and enforcing workers’ rights for unpaid wages.
Semafor Technologies LLC
Agency Name: WAGE AND HOUR DIVISION (WHD), UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Release Number: 12-1009-ATL (203)
Date: June 12, 2012
Semafor Technologies LLC in Norcross, Georgia has agreed to pay the 73 H-1B employees $741,288 in back wages following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. The company specializes in software development, on-site/off-site application outsourcing, infrastructure, consulting and product development services.
Additionally, the company has committed to implementing new payroll and time-keeping procedures to ensure future compliance with all applicable provisions of the H-1B program.
If you are an H-1B visa worker and have been the victim of unlawful benching by your employer you should consult with an attorney to see if you have any claims.
This post is intended to provide you with information about overtime and wage cases filed throughout the country by other law firms and the government. It serves to give you an idea of the types of issues which are currently being litigated by employment lawyers as well as those which have been “settled.”
As a courtesy to you, we are providing the court name, case number and date filed to facilitate your search for it on the federal PACER website. Current information regarding case status, parties and attorneys is available on PACER to anyone who opens an account with them.
Please also note that some cases we report on were initiated by the Department of Labor and then settled without having been filed in Federal Court and thus will not be available on the PACER website. For these cases we generally provide a brief summary of the findings and results.
Please feel free to complete the form below for submission to our law firm if you would like more information about your possible employment claim. A representative will review it and contact you. Please allow one business day for someone to contact you and if you do not hear back from us then it is possible that we did not receive it. This is a FREE consultation and you will not be charged for this call. Also please be advised that, merely by submitting this form, no Attorney-Client relationship is formed with the law firm. The ONLY way that an Attorney-Client relationship with the Law Office of Rose H. Robbins is formed is by specifically written agreement signed by you and the Law Office of Rose H. Robbins. You must provide your name, home or cell phone number and your zip code and all remaining fields are optional.