Is your case stuck in administrative process? We can help you by completing this form.

Court strikes down DOL penalty assessed against Missouri company

Spread the love

Greater Missouri Medical Pro-Care Providers, Inc. (GMM) is a company that provides physical and occupational therapists to work in hospitals, nursing homes, and a host of other comparable facilities. GMM hired physical and occupational therapists from the Philippines through the H-1B program for temporary workers. GMM agreed to pay a just amount and provide suitable working conditions for their employees. A GMM H-1B therapist from the Philippines, Alena Gay Arat, alleged that GMM had violated several H-1B requirements. One of those incidents that Arat had alleged was that GMM had attempted to make her pay a fee for ending her job early.

The Department of Labor (DOL) took Arat’s complaint as an “aggrieved party” complaint. Erin Simon, an investigator with the DOL, found that there was reasonable cause to review the complaints against GMM. The DOL claimed that GMM had violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) on several fronts. The first violation that the DOL alleged against GMM was that GMM failed to pay required wages to employees that GMM had placed in nonproductive "benching" status. They further claimed that GMM made improper deductions from employee wages for lawyer and H-1B petition fees. Finally, the DOL said that the company “required or attempted to require” improper penalty payments for early termination from certain employees.

GMM challenged the DOL determination to an administrative law judge, arguing that, “[t]he applicable statute and regulation limit an aggrieved-party complaint to the specific issues of the Complaint and to the aggrieved party’s LCA.” The ALJ rejected this theory after finding that there was nothing in the INA to support GMM’s claim. The ALJ ordered GMM to pay $338,042.19 of back wages to forty employees for benching violations; $8,160.00 to seventeen employees for illegal fee deductions; and $8,284.23 to four employees for illegally withholding paychecks. A federal district court later affirmed these penalties.

DOL

On appeal, the court found that the Secretary was not authorized to investigate in the manner that they did. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Secretary of Labor cannot investigate beyond the original complaint without reasonable evidence, which was not presented. The court determines that because all of the awards given by the ARB were based on the Secretary’s unauthorized investigations, the awards cannot stand. The appeals court reversed the judgement and “remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

You May Also Like

Everything You Need to Know About H1B Premium Processing Fee Spread the love The H1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa allowing American employers to hire foreign workers in special positions for a certain period. Specialty occupations usually need a... VIEW POST
Form I-90 Filing Fee Breakdown: Renewing or Replacing Your Green Card Spread the love If you’re a lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United States, you’re given a green card, also known as a permanent resident card. This legal document... VIEW POST
What Does “USCIS Case Status Denied” Mean? Spread the love The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) handles immigration applications in the U.S. It operates under the United States Department of Homeland Security. USCIS offers... VIEW POST

Download Free Guide 
2024 Immigrant’s Guide to 
Becoming a U.S. Citizen

This guide contains all you need to know to become  
a U.S. citizen.

Download Free Guide 2022 Immigrant’s Guide to Becoming a U.S. Citizen

This guide contains all you need to know
to become a U.S. citizen.
DOWNLOAD FREE PDF

Immigration 
Answers Show
Live every week.

JOIN US