U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in Michigan Company Paying Back Wages, Penalties for H-2B Visa Violations
ROCHESTER HILLS, MI – Green Meadows Lawnscape Inc. – operating as Green Meadows Turf & Tree Inc. and based in Rochester Hills, Michigan – has paid $130,325 in back wages to 50 employees to resolve alleged violations of the federal H-2B Visa program for non-immigrant temporary employees and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The employer also paid civil money penalties of $9,675.
Green Meadows Lawnscape Inc. made the payments as part of a consent findings and settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD), which determined the employer violated the overtime provisions of the FLSA and the H-2B provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The Department's Office of Administrative Law Judges approved the settlement agreement.
WHD investigators determined the employer paid H-2B employees a flat day rate for hours worked on Saturday and Sunday, without regard to the number of hours that they worked, resulting in those workers receiving less than the hourly rates required by the H-2B program. The employer also made payroll deductions for visa and transportation expenses that resulted in some employees receiving less than the federal minimum wage.
"The H-2B visa program safeguards American employees against displacement while protecting foreign workers from being paid less than the prevailing wage or from otherwise working under substandard conditions," said Wage and Hour District Director Timolin Mitchell in Detroit. "The resolution of this case ensures no one is being paid less than they are legally owed."
The H-2B visa program permits employers to hire nonimmigrants to perform temporary nonagricultural labor or services in the U.S. and 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.
For more information about wage laws enforced by WHD, contact the Division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/whd including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by WHD.