Legal

IT Services Firm to Pay $1 Million for Visa Violations

By Staff Report

Aug. 20, 2010

Smartsoft International Inc. agreed to pay almost $1 million in back wages and interest to 135 workers the company hired using the H-1B visa program, the Department of Labor announced Wednesday, August 18.


In a statement, Suwanee, Georgia-based Smartsoft said the settlement was not an admission of wrongdoing but was determined to be the most productive way to move forward. Smartsoft provides IT solutions and staffing services with offices in Sunnyvale, California, and North Brunswick, New Jersey.


According to the Department of Labor, a Wage and Hour Division investigator found that some workers were not paid wages at the beginning of their employment, were paid on a part-time basis despite being hired under a full-time employment agreement, or were paid less than the prevailing wage for the locations where they worked.


In a statement, the company said, “Smartsoft strongly believes it would have prevailed in any legal efforts to rebut the DoL’s assertions. The company elected to settle the matter because of the high cost associated with a protracted legal battle. Smartsoft will continue to participate in the H-1B visa program.


“The DoL investigation found no evidence of a systemic violation of the law. The DoL also found no cases in which Smartsoft engaged in willful wrongdoing. Furthermore, Smartsoft notes that the investigation was not triggered by a Smartsoft employee, but rather by the government itself.


“Ultimately, the dispute with the DoL was a result of differing interpretations of highly complex laws and regulations with the employment of workers holding H-1B visas. Though it was not a stipulation of the settlement, Smartsoft has committed itself to enlisting new measures aimed at avoiding such confusion in the future.”  


Filed by Staffing Industry Analysts, a sister company of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.


 


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