LORAIN, OH – Employers that hire temporary foreign workers must pay their international transportation and meal expenses while they travel from their home country, a federal requirement that a Lorain landscaping company violated when it left the workers it hired to pay their own way to the U.S.
An investigation by U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found Alvarado Landscaping owed 12 temporary employees $36,179 in back wages for violations of the H-2B Visa program. The company also paid $40,000 in civil money penalties.
The program helps supply employers with temporary foreign workers while protecting U.S. workers’ access to the same jobs. The program is often used in the landscaping, agricultural and resort industries.
“These workers, who are away from their families for months at a time, deserve to be paid every penny of the wages they have legally earned,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director George Victory in Columbus, Ohio. “Enforcing the requirements of this program protects these vulnerable workers, protects U.S. workers in this industry, and levels the playing field for employers who play be the rules.”
The division determined Alvarado Landscaping violated the H2-B program when it:
Failed to pay workers’ inbound and outbound international transportation and meal costs.
Paid H-2B workers overtime hours in cash at a rate less than the required wage.
Took impermissible deductions from workers’ pay to cover their housing.
Provided investigators with inaccurate time and pay records.
For more information about the H-2B Program, the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the agency’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.