- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Louisiana company has paid out more than $100,000 to a group of American workers who were passed over for jobs so foreign nationals could be hired in their place through a work visa program, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

As part of a settlement with the Justice Department, Barrios Street Realty Inc. paid $108,000 to be split among 12 American workers who were passed over for jobs with the Lockport, Louisiana-based company.

According to the Justice Department, the company and its agent Jorge Arturo Guerrero Rodriguez “failed to consider or improperly rejected U.S. workers who applied for positions as sheet metal roofers or laborers, and then sought to fill the vacancies with foreign workers under the H-2B visa program.” The H-2B visa program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs.

“The Department of Justice will not tolerate employers misusing visa programs to discriminate against U.S. workers,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “We will vigorously prosecute claims against companies that place U.S. workers in a disfavored status.”

In investigating the case, the Justice Department found that Barrios failed to consider or improperly rejected 73 U.S. workers. The department said some workers who were originally identified but who did not receive back pay did not respond to efforts to contact them regarding the process. Others were found to be ineligible for back pay, as they later took jobs that paid more than Barrios or it was determined that they were not qualified for the positions.

The final payments to the 12 workers were made last week, according to the department.

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