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14 Sep 2018

US firm violates labor provisions, asked to pay $300,000 penalty

A US-based IT staffing company has been asked to pay over $300,000 (over Rs. 2cr) to 12 H-1B employees for paying them far below their salary and imposed a penalty of over $45,000 (Rs. 32L) for violating the labor provisions.

The US Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (WHD) found the Redmond-based company had violated the labor provisions of the H-1B visa program.

In context

US-firm to pay $300,000 for violating labor provisions

The firm has offices in Bengaluru and Hyderabad too

People Tech Group Inc, which has offices in Bengaluru and Hyderabad, has been asked to pay its employees $309,914 and a penalty of $45,564. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations requiring technical expertise.


Company failed to pay workers when it couldn't give work

Investigators found that the company paid entry-level wages to H-1B computer analysts and computer programmers who performed the work of much more experienced employees and should have received higher prevailing rates, the Department of Labor said.

The People Tech Group also failed to pay workers for the time when it did not provide them work, as the law requires, the Department said.

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WHD Acting District Director gives a statement

"The intent of the H-1B foreign labor certification program is to help American companies find the highly skilled talent they need when they can prove a shortage of US workers," said WHD Acting District Director Carrie Aguilar in Seattle.

"The resolution demonstrates our commitment to safeguard American jobs and ensure no one is being paid less than they are legally owed," Aguilar said.


Majority willful violators are Indian Americans, companies owned by them

The WHD has listed nearly 30 companies as willful violator employers under the H-1B program.

As per the list maintained since 2013, a majority of willful violators are Indian Americans or companies owned by them.

At least 10 companies, which include eight willful violators, have been debarred or disqualified from hiring foreign guest workers on H-1B visas.

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