Effective Legal Representation is Key to Defending LCA Department of Labor Investigations (H-1b Audit or LCA Audit)
I have heard many of my clients who frequent our offices in Ohio, Michigan and Washington, D.C. and who sponsor H-1b workers attesting to the valuable contributions introduced by the employment of foreign labor. It is a myth that companies who employ foreign nationals do so to exploit cheaper labor. The truth is, employers who seek skilled foreign labor normally do so only after exhausting the available US labor pool and only in seeking scarce highly skilled workers. It has been documented that H-1b workers foster growth in the US economy by projecting new products and services into the market place.
With so many documented benefits, and as the national unemployment rate increases during the current downturn in the economy, the US Department of Labor ("US DOL") Wage and Hour Division will be more apt to stepping up investigations of companies who regularly employ foreign nationals relative to H-1b violations. Yet with so many audits coming down the pike, few are able to find what my clients call a "competent Department of Labor audit lawyer."
The main mission of the Labor Department is to protect the interests of the US workforce and to assure that the employment of foreign nationals does not adversely affect the working condition of US citizens. If the reader of this article has never had experience with a Labor Department audit process also known as the LCA compliance investigation, LCA audit, or H-1b audit, he or she cannot begin to comprehend the nightmarish impact and disruption such process has on a business. It is a very difficult process for an employer to endure both financially and psychologically. The penalties and back wages are often six digits.
The thrust of the US DOL audit (H1b audit) is to discover employer violations of any of the regulatory directives implicit in the LCA attestations. Employers who sponsor H-1b workers know that these requirements are several. For instance, H-1b sponsoring employers must maintain a "public access file" containing certain records; the employer must also maintain updated approved LCAs when the "worksite" of the H-1b employee changes and must pay "prevailing wages." The employer may not "bench" H-1b employees and is considered in violation of the regulations.