DENVER, CO – Parkside Landscape Inc. has paid $524,063 in back wages to 53 employees and $26,104 in penalties to resolve violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and H-2B non-agricultural visa program provisions. The violations were found during an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.
The Wage and Hour Division’s H-2B nonimmigrant visa program investigation determined that back wages and penalties were owed because the company failed to pay employees the wages offered in the approved H-2B labor certification and the job order they filed with the Department when applying for permission to hire the foreign workers. Penalties were also owed because the employer failed to provide required earning statements, comply with safety requirements for employer-provided transportation, and provide a copy of the job order to employees at the time they applied for their visas. Violations of the overtime provisions of the FLSA resulted when the employer paid eight employees straight time for hours they worked beyond 40 in a workweek.
“We must ensure that employers understand and abide by the provisions of the H-2B visa program to protect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers,” said the Division’s Southwest Regional Administrator Betty Campbell. “The program safeguards American employees against displacement while protecting vulnerable foreign workers from being paid less than the prevailing wage or otherwise working under substandard conditions.”
In consent findings between the Department and Parkside Landscaping, the employer, in addition to paying owed H-2B back wages and the penalty, agreed to comply with all the requirements of the H-2B provisions under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
The H-2B nonimmigrant visa program permits employers to hire nonimmigrants to perform nonagricultural labor or services in the United States. The employment must be of a temporary nature for a limited period of time such as a one-time occurrence, or a seasonal, peak load, or intermittent need. The H-2B program requires the employer to attest to the Department that it will offer a wage that equals or exceeds the highest of the prevailing wage, applicable federal minimum wage, the state minimum wage, or local minimum wage to the H-2B nonimmigrant worker for the occupation in the area of intended employment during the entire period of the approved H-2B labor certification. The H-2B program also establishes certain recruitment and displacement standards in order to protect similarly employed U.S. workers.
For more information about federal wage laws, or for information about attending a training event, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243).