TAMPA, FL – A U.S. Department of Labor probe into how a Boca Grande resort used the federal H-2B program to employ guest visa workers for seasonal labor has recovered $151,598 in back wages for nine non-immigrant workers and led to $49,401 in civil money penalties for the resort.

The resort recently completed payment of the back wages and fines after it failed to provide documentation to support its February 2022 challenge of the findings of the department’s Wage and Hour Division. In November 2022, the employer entered into a consent agreement before the Office of Administrative Law Judges.

The resolution ends the division investigation that determined Gasparilla Inn & Club violated the temporary H-2B worker visa program by doing the following:

Applied an uncertified job qualification, and applied their qualification arbitrarily, giving preference to less-qualified H-2B applicants.
Imposed additional restrictions or obligations on U.S. workers and offered better working conditions to H-2B workers.
Hired two workers for first-line job duties, but assigned them supervisory duties.
Failed to reimburse visa fees to some workers, and made others wait years for their fees reimbursement.
“Federal law protects nonimmigrant workers employed under the H-2B program and Gasparilla Inn & Club violated those requirements,” said Wage and Hour District Director Nicolas Ratmiroff in Tampa, Florida. “All workers, both U.S. and non-immigrant workers, must be paid their lawful wages. Employers who reap the benefits of the H-2B program are obligated to make sure they understand and comply with program requirements.”

The federal H-2B visa program permits employers to temporarily hire nonimmigrants to perform nonagricultural labor or services in the U.S. The employment must be temporary in nature and be for a limited specific period of time, such as a one-time occurrence, seasonal, peak load or intermittent need.

Established in 1913, the Gasparilla Inn & Club is a resort located on Gasparilla Island on the Gulf of Mexico.

For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243).

Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. Download the agency’s new Timesheet App for Android devices to ensure hours and pay are accurate.

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