English Spanish

Greater Missouri Medical Pro-Care Providers, Inc. (GMM) v. Perez (2015) Explained


Greater Missouri Medical Pro-Care Providers, Inc. (GMM) v. Perez (2015) Explained

In this case, GMM hired physical and occupational therapists from the Philippines through the H-1B program for temporary foreign workers.  In 2006, one of these workers filed a complaint alleging GMM had violated several H-1B requirements by making her pay for the filing fees and attorney fees for her H-1B visa, for not paying her the specified wage during her non-productive period studying for a licensing exam, and for attempting to recover a fee from the employee for breaching her employment contract.  The Department of Labor (DOL) treated these allegations as an “aggrieved party” complaint, and subsequently concluded that they had “reasonable cause” to investigate the charge that GMM “required or attempted to require [the H-1B employee to pay] a penalty for ceasing” the employee’s employment early.  In accordance with the DOL’s standard practice for all H-1B investigations, the DOL initiated a “full investigation under the H-1B provisions… to see if there were violations to any employee during the time period.”  Based on this investigation, the DOL ordered GMM to pay $382,889.87 in back wages to forty-five employees.

The case was appealed and eventually made its way to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, where Chief Justice Riley found that the DOL exceeded its authority to levy this fine.  The Chief Justice reprimanded the DOL secretary for using one complaint as justification for a comprehensive investigation of the employer as a whole, including searching for other potential violations that occurred before the twelve month statute of limitations that is clearly articulated in the statute, § 1182(n)(2)(A).  The court struck down the fines that were based on the unauthorized investigation.

Beyond statutory interpretation and the mechanics of DOL investigations, this case offers several practical lessons to both H-1B employers and H-1B employees.  Both should be aware that the employer must be the one to pay all filing fees and attorney costs.  Both should also be aware that employers must be pay the prescribed wages to their H-1B employees during the entire duration of the employment, including when the employee is non-productive because of lack of work, training for a license, or any other reason.  Finally, employers should proceed extremely carefully when attempting to collect money from employees for perceived breaches of employment contracts.

If you have questions about any of these issues, please do not hesitate to contact the Joseph & Hall P.C. to speak with one of our immigration experts!

Get in Touch

Complete the form to schedule a consultation.

Schedule An
Appointment Online

Powered by NUVEW Web Solutions
COVID-19 Update

Effective March 25, 2020, in response to “Stay at Home” orders Joseph & Hall PC is closed to the public and is now conducting nearly all of its operations remotely during the COVID-19 health crisis through April 18th.

We continue to have a limited number of staff in our office to perform basic operations such as assembling and filing petitions, receiving and distributing mail and issuing checks. We are grateful to be in a business that is conducive to remote work and for all of your patience and support.  Our lawyers and paralegals are here to answer the array of questions that continue to arise daily and will keep you informed during these rapidly changing times.  We will hold telephonic or video meetings rather than in-person meetings.  These meetings can be done by SKYPE or Zoom Conference call so that you can continue to interact with your legal team, face-to-face.

We remain committed to delivering outstanding client services.  We do have one important request – please do not come into the office in person for your health and safety and that of our employees.  Please mail or email all documents to our office.  Also, you can make any required payments online at https://vpspay.com/p/3 or make them over the phone by calling 303-297-9171 or by mail.  Please stay healthy!





Call Now Button