U.S. Department of Labor Debars South Dakota Construction Company From Participation in H Visa Programs for 5 Years
FLORENCE, SD – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Dagel Steel Construction – based in Florence, South Dakota – agreed to be debarred from participating in the H Visa programs for five years. WHD investigators alleged the company violated the labor provisions of the H-2B Visa Program.
The investigation led to a settlement agreement that included the company’s payment of $69,951 in back wages to 16 H-2B laborers – recruited from South Africa and Mexico – to resolve the alleged violations. Dagel Steel Construction also paid $30,049 in civil money penalties.
The H-2B nonimmigrant visa program permits employers to hire nonimmigrants to perform temporary non-agricultural labor or services.
“The U.S. Department of Labor sought debarment of Dagel Steel Construction because the employer failed to comply with well-documented requirements of the H-2B Visa Program. The employer’s obligations are clearly detailed during the process of seeking certification to hire temporary foreign laborers,” said Wage and Hour Division Regional Administrator Betty Campbell in Dallas, Texas. “The Wage and Hour Division is committed to safeguarding American jobs, leveling the playing field for law-abiding employers and protecting vulnerable workers from being paid less than they are legally owed.”
Specifically, WHD investigators alleged Dagel Steel Construction – which specializes in erecting steel grain bin elevators and other commercial buildings – violated H-2B requirements when it:
- Paid workers less than the required wage rate;
- Failed to notify federal agencies of early separation of six H-2B workers;
- Assigned H-2 B employees to work in locations outside the certified job location in South Dakota;
- Assigned H-2B workers to perform job duties outside the certified job description;
- Failed to identify accurately the number of workers needed and the period of need;
- Failed to pay workers’ inbound and outbound transportation costs from their home countries as required;
- Failed to pay housing and visa costs as required;
- Took impermissible deductions from H-2B workers’ wages; and
- Failed to post the required H-2B poster.
WHD also alleged that Dagel Steel Construction failed to comply with FLSA recordkeeping requirements.
For more information about the H-2B Visa Program and other laws enforced by WHD, contact the Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. 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 the Division.
WHD’s mission is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation's workforce. WHD enforces federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes. Additionally, WHD administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act, and other statutes applicable to federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.