Workers' Rights and Michigan Workers
Employers often put a great deal of effort into securing H1-B visas to bring skilled laborers to the United States. Some employers legitimately require the talent that foreign employees can provide and offer benefits equal to the American workers that work alongside them. Other times, employees brought into the country through an H1-B visa are victims of illegal practices, including wage fraud, illegal collection of H1-B filing fees/visa application fees and failure to pay travel fees or per diem rates.
At Nacht Law, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, we combat employer abuse of the H1-B visa system. Our attorneys are zealous advocates for both mistreated immigrant workers and the American citizens who have been illegally discriminated against in favor of foreign employees. Contact us to arrange a consultation to discuss your rights and your legal options. We have the skills to navigate the system.
What is an H1-B Visa?
An H1-B visa is a non-immigrant work visa that allows companies to bring skilled foreign workers to the United States to fill certain positions. Employers must generally demonstrate that they require specialized labor (e.g., architects, designers), that their need for employment is legitimate and that no qualified American candidate exists. Employers are responsible for the costs associated with obtaining a visa, transporting the potential employee to and from work sites and other costs primarily for the benefit of the employee.
Abuse of the H1-B System
Employees brought to the United States through an H1-B visa enjoy many of the same employment rights as American citizens, including the right to paid vacation and sick leave. Unfortunately, many employers hire visa workers for the sole purpose of cutting costs. They may try to pay foreign workers at a substantially lower rate, or refuse to offer equal benefits and safe working conditions. When the employer uses their power over H1-B workers to provide less beneficial employment terms than they do to American workers, both H1-B workers and American workers lose.
These unscrupulous employers understand that it is very difficult for employees here on an H1-B visa to change jobs without forfeiting their visa and that many employees would rather endure lower wages than be forced to return to their home countries. Unfortunately, many employers use this unfair advantage for their own benefit: to deny H1-B workers prevailing wages, overtime pay, per diem pay, pay for on-site work and other benefits paid to similarly situated American workers.
Protecting Your Rights to Equality in the Workplace
Whether you are an employee here on an H1-B visa who has been exploited or an American citizen who has been unjustly discriminated against in favor of foreign employees, you must hold an employer responsible for their dishonest actions. Rights as an H1-B worker are primarily enforced through action in the Department of Labor. Other laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act, provides protection to H1-B and American workers alike and are often best addressed through a lawsuit in state or federal court. Only an experienced attorney in H1-B and wage issues will know what path is right for you.
Contact Nacht Law
For more information or to schedule an appointment to take the first step in standing up for your employment rights, please contact us. We represent clients in state and federal courts throughout Michigan and beyond.