ORLANDO, Fla. – Health care staffing agency Jackson Therapy Partners, based in Orlando, has paid $134,073 in back wages to 40 nonimmigrant employees hired under the H-1B program to work as physical and occupational therapists in 15 states, following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.

Investigators found that the employer failed to pay the H-1B workers the required wage rate for the period of time between arrival from their home country, the Philippines, and reporting to their temporary work sites. Under the H-1B program, workers must be paid for all nonproductive time caused by their employers.

The employees worked in the following locations: Fayette and Northport, Ala.; Fresno, Calif.; Smyrna, Del.; Altoona, Boca Raton, Crystal River, Debary, Deland, Eustis, Lady Lake, Lake Mary, Melbourne, Ocala, Sanford, Starke and Stuart, Fla.; Chicago, Deerfield, Lincoln, Piper City, Quincy and Streator, Ill.; Monticello and South Bend, Ind.; Hopkinsville, Ky.; Baltimore and Prince Frederick, Md.; Ludington, Mich.; Whiting, N.J.; Fayetteville, Morehead City and New Bern, N.C.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Narvon, Philadelphia and Sinking Spring, Pa.; Brownsville, La Joya, McAllen, Rockport, Texarkana and Weslaco, Texas; and Rainelle, W.Va.

“The U.S. Department of Labor is responsible for enforcing some of our nation’s most comprehensive federal labor laws, including provisions in certain temporary worker programs such as H-1B,” said Michael Young, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Jacksonville District Office. “The Wage and Hour Division vigorously enforces H-1B visa rules to protect both the rights of U.S. citizens and the temporary employees in this program. Employers should not unduly benefit from hiring H-1B workers to fill jobs as opposed to hiring U.S. workers.”

As established under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the H-1B program applies to employers that hire non-U.S. workers in specialty occupations. The program helps employers that cannot obtain needed business skills and abilities from the U.S. workforce by authorizing the temporary employment of qualified individuals who are not otherwise authorized to work in the U.S. The H-1B regulations establish standards to protect the H-1B workers as well as similarly employed U.S. workers from being adversely affected by the employment of nonimmigrant workers. Employers must attest to the Labor Department that they will pay wages to the H-1B workers at least equal to the wages paid by the employer to other workers with similar experience and qualifications for the job in question, or the prevailing wage for the occupation in the area of intended employment – whichever is greater.

This case was investigated by the Wage and Hour Division’s Jacksonville District Office, located at 400 W. Bay St., Suite 956, Jacksonville, Fla. 32202; telephone 904-359-9292.

For more information about the laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, call its national toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov/whd.