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Michigan-based staffing firm to pay $1.15 million over H-1B allegations

June 05, 2019

A Michigan staffing firm is paying almost $1.15 million in back wages to 594 employees over allegations that it violated provisions of the H-1B visa program, the US Department of Labor reported last week.

H-1B visas are used to bring highly skilled foreign workers — such as IT professionals — into the US on a temporary basis.

The Department of Labor reported Populus Group, based in Troy, Michigan, did not pay H-1B employees required wages when worksites were closed for holidays.

“The intent of the H-1B foreign labor certification program is to help American companies find the highly skilled talent they need when they can prove that a shortage of US workers exists,” said Wage and Hour District Director Timolin Mitchell in Detroit. “The resolution of this case demonstrates our commitment to safeguard American jobs, level the playing field for law-abiding employers, and ensure no one is being paid less than they are legally owed.”

In a separate, unrelated case, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division on Tuesday announced a hotel staffing firm in Saipan, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, will pay $163,327 in back wages and liquidated damages to 73 employees for violating minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The staffing firm, Saint Trading Co., was also assessed another $40,150 because of the repeat nature of the violations.

Saint Trading Co. did not combine hours that some employees worked at multiple locations when calculating overtime, according to the department. It also didn’t reimburse employees for job-required medical exams and food-handler trainings and certifications.

The company had similar violations in 2013, according to the department.

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