KATY, TX – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Terry’s Landscape LLC – based in Katy, Texas – has paid $5,165 in back wages and $20,399 in civil money penalties to settle H-2B non-immigrant visa program violations and $6,472 in back wages for violating the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Investigators found Terry’s Landscape LLC violated provisions of the H-2B nonimmigrant visa program requiring non-discriminatory hiring practices when the employer failed to accept referrals of potential U.S. workers up to 21 days before their stated period of need for guest workers. Additionally, the employer failed to reimburse H-2B workers for travel expenses from their home countries, as required. The investigation also found the employer failed to comply with the requirement to notify U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and Office of Foreign Labor Certification when H-2B workers abandoned or terminated employment prior to the time period in the workers’ agreements. Terry’s Landscape LLC violated FLSA overtime requirements when it paid foremen flat rates per day, without regard to the number of hours that they worked. This practice resulted in violations when those employees worked more than 40 hours in a workweek, but were not paid overtime.
“The U.S. Department of Labor will continue to enforce the laws to ensure employers satisfy their obligations under temporary employment certifications, and will work diligently to prevent any practice that prefers foreign workers over qualified local candidates,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Robin Mallett, in Houston, Texas. “The Department is committed to safeguarding American jobs and leveling the playing field for employers who obey the law.”
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, electronic toolkits or in-person visits with local WHD staff.
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