An employer was recently ordered to pay nearly $183,000 in back pay for failing to notify U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that it had fired an H-1B employee. The employee had an H-1B status good for three years, but was terminated by his employer after 60 days on the job. The employer failed to notify the USCIS, which allowed the employee to file a claim for back pay for the two and one-half years that he was not employed before leaving the United States.
For an H-1B employee to be officially terminated from a job, the employer must comply with the bona fide termination requirements set forth by the UCSIS. If an H-1B employee is terminated, the employer must first give notice of the termination to the employee and then notify the UCSIS of the decision. The Department of Labor Condition Application must be withdrawn, and the employer must provide the terminated employee with paid transportation home. Because the employer in this case did not notify the UCSIS or provide money for the employee to return home, the employee was considered “benched,” not terminated.
The H-1B employee filed the wage and hour dispute with the United States Department of Labor (DOL) within the one-year time period required by UCSIS. The employer argued that U.S. employment laws made the termination legal, but the administrative law judge sided with the H-1B employee and granted him back pay with interest. By accepting the employee on an H-1B status, the employer had made a promise of wages that would have been earned in the three years the employee would have been employed. The employer had the right to fire the employee, but was responsible for the wages because he had not complied with the UCSIS mandates for a bona fide termination.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Protect the Rights of H-1B Employees
If you are an employee in the United States with an H-1B status, your employer is mandated by law to follow strict procedures if you are terminated from your job. Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. can ensure that your legal rights are protected and that you receive the wages you are entitled to under the law.
Call us at 215-925-4435, or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our multi-lingual immigration lawyers will make sure you understand what your legal rights are, and will advise you of the best legal strategy available. Our Center City Philadelphia offices are conveniently accessible by car, train, bus, and other forms of public transportation.