U.S. Department of Labor debars firms that provided workers to #Apple, #Cisco, #eBay. (#SiliconValley, @Siliconeer)

It is one thing to bring workers from India and other countries to employ as software engineers for renowned Silicon Valley firms, such as eBay, Apple and Cisco. It’s another thing when you shortchange them and fail to pay the local prevailing wage while they’re in the U.S.

That’s what U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour investigators found when they looked into the labor practices of Scopus Consulting Group and Orian Engineers, two worker placement organizations in Sunnyvale, Calif. After the parties filed consent findings, federal Administrative Law Judge Stephen R. Henley ordered the two businesses owned by Kishore Kumar to pay 21 workers $84,000 in back wages and $103,000 in fines to the federal government.

“Some of the country’s most cutting-edge, successful organizations benefit from underpaid H-1B workers,” said Susana Blanco, director for the Wage and Hour Division in San Francisco. “H-1B workers must be paid local prevailing wages. We will not allow companies to undercut local wages and hurt U.S. workers and businesses who pay their workers fairly.”

The division found that Orian and Scopus Consulting violated the H-1B provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act by misrepresenting the prevailing wage level on the Labor Condition Applications required by the act. The employers also recruited experienced workers, most of who have master’s degrees, and paid them as entry level employees. Both firms have been debarred from H-1B program participation for one year. The division also cited the companies for failing to post a notice in the workplace about their applications to bring in foreign workers using the H-1B visa program, which would allow U.S. workers to learn about and apply for job openings.

The H-1B program applies to employers seeking to hire nonimmigrant aliens as workers in specialty occupations that require the application of highly specialized knowledge and at least a bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent. The H-1B provisions seek to help employers who cannot obtain needed business skills and abilities from U.S. workers and authorizes temporary employment of qualified individuals who otherwise are not authorized to work in the U.S.

For more information about federal wage laws administered by the Wage and Hour Division, call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.