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News Release

U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Finds Tennessee Landscaping Company Violated H-2B Visa Program Requirements

ROCKVALE, TN – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Outdoors Unlimited Inc. – a landscaping company based in Rockvale, Tennessee – will pay $52,000 in back wages to 21 employees for violating labor provisions of the H-2B visa program. WHD also debarred the employer from participating in the H-2B temporary non-agricultural labor certification program for one year.

WHD determined that Outdoors Unlimited Inc. failed to record and pay employees for time they spent loading and unloading trucks for each day’s activities before and after their scheduled shifts. The employer also failed to pay for time workers spent traveling between job sites during the workday. This unpaid time resulted in overtime violations when the employees’ actual hours exceeded 40 in a workweek.

“Employers must ensure they understand and meet all of their obligations under the H-2B visa program,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Nettie Lewis, in Nashville, Tennessee. “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. We encourage employers to reach out to us with questions, and to use the wide variety of tools we offer to help them understand their responsibilities.”

The department offers numerous resources to ensure employers have the tools they need to understand their responsibilities and to comply with federal law, such as online videos, confidential calls, or in-person visits to local WHD offices.

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). Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/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.

Agency
Wage and Hour Division
Date
March 4, 2020
Release Number
20-214-ATL
Contact: Eric R. Lucero
Phone Number
Contact: Michael D'Aquino
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