DOL Investigations Yields Order for H-1B Backpay

A United States Department of Labor (DOL) investigation has resulted in a federal order for a Minnesota technology company to pay an engineer back wages to the amount of $43,336. A federal judge ruled against the company, citing violations to H-1B wage regulations.

The Case

The DOL Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) and its investigation unit provided evidence to Judge Theresa Timlin in Minnesota following findings of misconduct within the TLC Precision Wafer Technologies Incorporation, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The company, which employs H-1B highly skilled workers, failed to pay a microfabrication engineer, working under the H-1B program, the wages stated in the H-1B application. TLC Precision Wafer Technologies Inc. additionally failed to maintain adequate records of payment to the engineer. While the Tech company had payed the engineer over $14,000 in cash reimbursements, Judge Timlin denied credit for the payment due to the lack of records and reporting of the payment to payroll and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), as required to credit these payments.

Originally, the engineer was set to receive an annual salary of $43,000, per the H-1B petition. However, the employee left the tech company after they received reduced hours and pay. H-1B workers must be paid “at least equal to the actual wage paid by the employer to other workers with similar experience and qualifications for the job in question, or the prevailing wage for the occupation in the area of intended employment – whichever is greater.” In denying the engineer payment as agreed in the H-1B program, the company unlawfully exploited the engineer. The company will now pay back wages of $43,366 in addition to payments for pre-judgement and post-judgement interest.

In a statement, the director of WHD in Minneapolis, David King said, “The resolution of this case demonstrates our commitment to safeguard American jobs, level the playing field for law-abiding employers, and ensure no one is being paid less than they are legally owed.” While the DOL works primarily to protect the interest of US worker, the DOL additionally protects the wages guaranteed to foreign nationals, especially in the case of the H-1B minimum salary requirements.