U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Finds Michigan Concrete Contractor Improperly Classified Position, Possibly Displacing American Workers
STERLING HEIGHTS, MI – Following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Metropolitan Concrete Corp. will pay $73,647 in back wages to 15 employees working under the H-2B non-immigrant visa program, which provides for the admission of non-immigrants to the U.S. to perform temporary non-agricultural labor or services.
WHD investigators found the Sterling Heights-based company 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.
“The H-2B program safeguards American employees against displacement and also protects vulnerable foreign workers from being paid less than the prevailing wage or otherwise working under substandard conditions,” said Timolin Mitchell, Wage and Hour District Director in Detroit. “This case demonstrates our commitment to ensuring all workers are paid what they have legally earned and to leveling the playing field for law-abiding employers. Employers with questions about guest worker programs are encouraged to reach out to us for information and compliance assistance.”
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 money penalties.
For more information about the H-2B immigrant visa program and other laws enforced by the Division, contact the Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at http://www.dol.gov/whd including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the Division.