ODESSA, TX – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Juan Vizcaino – doing business as Vizcaino LP in Odessa, Texas – has paid $45,945 in back wages to 22 employees hired under the H-2B temporary visa program and two U.S. workers hired during the recruitment period for guest workers. The employer also has paid $24,120 in civil money penalties to settle the H-2B violations.
WHD found Juan Vizcaino violated provisions of the H-2B visa program after failing to record all the hours that employees worked. When the employer failed to count time spent by employees loading and unloading equipment before and after their scheduled shifts as work time, those unpaid hours resulted in Vizcaino failing to pay overtime when employees worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. The employer also failed to provide employees with required earnings statements on a regular basis.
WHD cited additional violations when Vizcaino employed workers outside the geographic area of intended employment that they specified in the temporary employment certification they filed with the Department when hiring the guest workers. The Department also cited Vizcaino for a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) recordkeeping violation for failing to keep required payroll and time records.
“Time spent performing pre-shift duties such as loading equipment or cleaning up at the end of a workday must be recorded. Employees must be paid for all the hours that they work,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Evelyn Sanchez in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “Our efforts ensure that employers understand and abide by the provisions of the H-2B program to safeguard American employees against displacement while protecting foreign workers from being paid less than the wages they were promised.”
Stay in Compliance
As employers utilizing the program are held to increasingly high standards, H-2B compliance is more crucial than ever. While many employers believe themselves to be in compliance, a third party may be able to provide a more accurate picture. The expert team at Phoenix Labor has over 30 years of H-2B experience, meaning we can help to ensure you are taking all of the right steps and that all of your pieces are in place.