The U.S. Department of Labor is seeking $1.9 million for alleged abuses of the H1-B visa program by Peri Software Solutions, Inc., a Newark, NJ consulting house. According to the DOL press release, Peri Software and its president, Sarib Perisamya, allegedly owe over $1.4 million in back wages to foreign workers.
The DOL’s investigation found that the Newark company forced its H1-B employees to sign employment contracts, failed to pay the workers the required prevailing wage, and then sued the employees who left the company after their contracts were broken. The DOL assessed a $439,000 civil penalty against Peri Software “due to the willful nature of the violations.” In addition to the civil penalty and back wage assessment, the company is facing a 2 year debarment from the H1 program.
I have seen many similar cases in my law practice. Consulting firms, many of whom are not properly registered as employment agencies, lure workers to the United States with promises of long-term employment and stability. When the workers arrive here, however, the employers require them to sign unfair and totally one-sided employment contracts. In some cases, workers are required to remain with the same company for 18 months or more. Then, when these employees are forced to quit due to unpaid bench time or other issues, the companies sue them.
If you are an H1-B employee who is being benched without pay, or otherwise not being paid properly, you may have legal recourse to get the money you are owed. You may also have grounds to terminate your contract. Before you move to your next employer, however, you should seek legal advice from a knowledgeable New Jersey employment attorney.