Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.
Access Therapies to be debarred, ordered to pay $121,400 in penalties and back wages to 6 workers following US Department of Labor investigation
CHICAGO — Under terms of a court order, Indianapolis-based Access Therapies Inc. must pay $81,454 in civil money penalties and $39,946 in back wages to six physical therapists for violations of the H-1B provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The H-1B program allows employers to employ foreign workers temporarily in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant basis in specialty occupations. Access Therapies will be debarred from participation in the H-1B program for a one-year period.
"The rules governing the employment of nonimmigrant workers in specialty occupations are specific and must be followed completely. Failing to do so denies qualified workers an opportunity for meaningful employment in the American economy," said Thomas Gauza, district director for the Wage and Hour Division in Chicago. "This case shows that the department will not hesitate to bring legal action against employers that continue to short their employees and violate the law."
An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division found, among other issues, that the company misrepresented facts on its application when petitioning for and employing H-1B nonimmigrant workers and, as a result, the division issued the company a determination letter seeking the back wages owed. Access Therapies contested those findings and requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, who issued the order that required the company to pay back wages, civil money penalties and interest, and debarred it from the H-1B program for a one-year period.
The investigation found employees were due back wages because they were not compensated with the required prevailing wages for productive work time or for preassignment and post-assignment time, as required. Access Therapies failed to withhold applicable employment taxes, such as payments to Medicare, FICA and federal and state income tax. The company is required to pay such taxes, plus interest and penalties, to the appropriate taxing authorities.
Under the terms of the order, in addition to paying the back wages and penalties, Access Therapies has agreed to enhanced compliance procedures, including records review by the department for a two-year period, and agrees to comply with provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act in the future.
For more information about the H-1B program and other federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
Administrator, Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor v. Access Therapies Inc. Case Number: 2010-LCA-21