Subcontractor ordered to pay $384K in back wages for H-2B violations

May 2, 2023 -  By
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The U.S. Department of Labor obtained a consent order to enable the recovery of $317,097 in back wages for three U.S. and 56 workers from Mexico employed by an Ambler, Pa., swimming pool subcontractor under the federal H-2B guest worker visa program.

The order follows an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division that found GSI Pool Finishes violated provisions of the H-2B program by failing to pay required wages to the U.S. and foreign workers. The employer illegally paid the workers — hired as cement masons — a piece rate not at least equal to the applicable required offered wage rate. The incorrect wage rate resulted in the workers being owed $266,627 in back wages by the employer.

 “The Department of Labor protects workers’ rights and is diligent in its efforts to ensure they receive the wages they earn. Employers who choose to participate in the H-2B program must ensure they are aware of their obligations and abide by the law,” said Jim Cain, a Wage and Hour Division District director.

Additional violations include:

  • Failure to include housing availability in its advertisement or Temporary Employment Certification.
  • Failure to conduct drug tests and criminal background checks, despite advertising that it would.
  • Improperly classifying three workers as a yard, truck shop and warehouse helper. GSI Pool Finishes was only permitted to employ workers as cement masons.
  • Failure to include all required information on the employees’ earning statements. 
  • Failure to provide inbound, outbound and daily subsistence to workers for their travel to and from the employer’s worksite from either the U.S. or hometowns in Mexico.
  • Failure to provide workers with a written job disclosure, as required by H-2B regulations.
  • Inaccurate records of employee hours worked and any monies paid to workers for travel.
  • Failure to recruit U.S. workers as required, as part of supplemental recruitment in 2018.

The H-2B violations led the Wage and Hour Division to assess $67,649 in civil money penalties. In addition, the employer must pay the workers $50,470 in travel expenses as part of their back wages.

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