A Louisiana company paid more than $100,000 to 12 U.S. citizen workers Thursday following allegations that the company had favored foreign workers on temporary H2-B visas over American workers.
Barrios Street Realty LLC made the payments as a settlement with the Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ had sued the company on behalf of the 12 U.S. citizens who applied for–but did not get–jobs at the company. Soon after their applications, owner Jorge Arturo Guerrero Rodriguez petitioned for workers through the H-2B visa program, which allows U.S. employers who meet certain requirements to bring in foreign workers. One of those requirements is that the company first check for qualified U.S. citizens before using the program, and Rodriguez had falsely claimed he couldn’t find any American workers for his roofing company.
“The Department of Justice will not tolerate employers misusing visa programs to discriminate against U.S. workers,” Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore said in a statement. “We will vigorously prosecute claims against companies that place U.S. workers in a disfavored status.”
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