Landscaping Company Violated H-2B Program and Must Pay $300,000 in Back Wages and Penalties

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Ultimate Services Professional Grounds Management Inc., a Wolcott landscaping company that the U.S. Department of Labor claims violated federal law by failing to hire U.S. workers and underpaying temporary foreign workers, will pay $280,000 in back wages to 80 workers and nine job applicants and $20,000 in civil money penalties. The company signed consent findings approved by the Labor Department's Office of Administrative Law Judges and agreed to actively engage in enhanced recruitment of U.S. workers.

Investigators from the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division's New Haven Area Office, part of the Hartford District Office, found that Ultimate Services Professional Grounds Management violated provisions of the H-2B temporary visa program during the 2011 and 2012 hiring seasons. The investigation determined that the company did not employ most of the U.S. workers listed as "hired" on its recruitment records and failed to pay its H-2B employees the required prevailing wage rate.

The H-2B program allows employers to bring in foreign workers on a temporary basis to perform work only when no U.S. workers are able, willing, qualified and available to do the work and when the employment of H-2B workers does not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. The program also requires employers to take proactive efforts to recruit and hire U.S. workers first.

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