Wednesday, June 1, 2016

H-1B SERIES PART THREE: WHEN DOES THE H-1B EMPLOYER’S WAGE OBLIGATION END ?

H-1B SERIES PART THREE: WHEN DOES THE H-1B EMPLOYER’S WAGE OBLIGATION END ?

An H-1B employer’s wage obligation when it effects a bona-fide termination.  The employer must take three steps to effect a bona-fide termination.  Once all three steps are taken, the employer is said to have made the bona-fide termination: (1) The H-1B employer expressly terminated the employment relationship with the H-1B worker; (2) It notified USCIS of the termination so that the petition could be cancelled; and (3) It offers to pay or reimburse the worker for the reasonable cost of return transportation to his or her home country.  This three step test is taken from Amtel Group of Fla., Inc. v. Yongmahapakorn, ARB No. 04-087, ALJ No. 2004-LCA-006, slip op. at 11 (ARB Sept. 29, 2006)

The Dedios court pointed out that there are some very limited exceptions to the three step test outlined in Amtel Group.  The exceptions are found in cases such as: Batyrbekov v. Barclays Capital, ARB No. 13-013, ALJ No. 2011-LCA-025 (ARB July 16, 2014): see also Puri v. University of Alabama Birmingham Huntsville, ARB No. 13-022, ALJ Nos. 2012-LCA-010, 2008-LCA-038, 2008-LCA-043 (ARB Sept. 17, 2014).

The most obvious way for an H-1B employer to meet the first step is to send a letter or email to the H-1B employee notifying him of the termination of employment.  Since the H-1B employer in Dedios waited many months before sending the employee a termination letter, the Court found that the wage obligation continued until October 27, 2010, in spite of the fact that the employer notified USCIS on June 1, 2010 and offered a flight back to the employee’s native Philippines on May 21, 2010.

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