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e-CFR data is current as of August 6, 2020

Title 20Chapter VPart 655 → Subpart M


Title 20: Employees' Benefits
PART 655—TEMPORARY EMPLOYMENT OF FOREIGN WORKERS IN THE UNITED STATES


Subpart M—What are the Department's enforcement obligations with respect to H-1C Attestations?


Contents
§655.1200   What enforcement authority does the Department have with respect to a facility's H-1C Attestations?
§655.1205   What is the Administrator's responsibility with respect to complaints and investigations?
§655.1210   What penalties and other remedies may the Administrator impose?
§655.1215   How are the Administrator's investigation findings issued?
§655.1220   Who can appeal the Administrator's findings and what is the process?
§655.1225   What are the rules of practice before an ALJ?
§655.1230   What time limits are imposed in ALJ proceedings?
§655.1235   What are the ALJ proceedings?
§655.1240   When and how does an ALJ issue a decision?
§655.1245   Who can appeal the ALJ's decision and what is the process?
§655.1250   Who is the official record keeper for these administrative appeals?
§655.1255   What are the procedures for debarment of a facility based on a finding of violation?
§655.1260   Can Equal Access to Justice Act attorney fees be awarded?

Source: 65 FR 51149, Aug. 22, 2000, unless otherwise noted.

Editorial Note: Nomenclature changes to subpart M of part 655 appear at 75 FR 10403, Mar. 5, 2010.

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§655.1200   What enforcement authority does the Department have with respect to a facility's H-1C Attestations?

(a) The Administrator shall perform all the Secretary's investigative and enforcement functions under 8 U.S.C. 1182(m) and subparts L and M of this part.

(b) The Administrator, either because of a complaint or otherwise, shall conduct such investigations as may be appropriate and, in connection therewith, enter and inspect such places and such records (and make transcriptions thereof), question such persons and gather such information as deemed necessary by the Administrator to determine compliance with the matters to which a facility has attested under section 212(m) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1182(m)) and subparts L and M of this part.

(c) A facility being investigated must make available to the Administrator such records, information, persons, and places as the Administrator deems appropriate to copy, transcribe, question, or inspect. A facility must fully cooperate with any official of the Department of Labor performing an investigation, inspection, or law enforcement function under 8 U.S.C. 1182(m) or subparts L or M of this part. Such cooperation shall include producing documentation upon request. The Administrator may deem the failure to cooperate to be a violation, and take such further actions as the Administrator considers appropriate.

(Note: Federal criminal statutes prohibit certain interference with a Federal officer in the performance of official duties. 18 U.S.C. 111 and 1114.)

(d) No facility may intimidate, threaten, restrain, coerce, blacklist, discharge, or in any manner discriminate against any person because such person has:

(1) Filed a complaint or appeal under or related to section 212(m) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1182(m)) or subpart L or M of this part;

(2) Testified or is about to testify in any proceeding under or related to section 212(m) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1182(m)) or subpart L or M of this part.

(3) Exercised or asserted on behalf of himself/herself or others any right or protection afforded by section 212(m) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1182(m)) or subpart L or M of this part.

(4) Consulted with an employee of a legal assistance program or an attorney on matters related to the Act or to subparts L or M of this part or any other DOL regulation promulgated under 8 U.S.C. 1182(m).

(5) In the event of such intimidation or restraint as are described in this paragraph, the Administrator may deem the conduct to be a violation and take such further actions as the Administrator considers appropriate.

(e) A facility subject to subparts L and M of this part must maintain a separate file containing its Attestation and required documentation, and must make that file or copies thereof available to interested parties, as required by §655.1150. In the event of a facility's failure to maintain the file, to provide access, or to provide copies, the Administrator may deem the conduct to be a violation and take such further actions as the Administrator considers appropriate.

(f) No facility may seek to have an H-1C nurse, or any other nurse similarly employed by the employer, or any other employee waive rights conferred under the Act or under subpart L or M of this part. In the event of such waiver, the Administrator may deem the conduct to be a violation and take such further actions as the Administrator considers appropriate. This prohibition of waivers does not prevent agreements to settle litigation among private parties, and a waiver or modification of rights or obligations in favor of the Secretary shall be valid for purposes of enforcement of the provisions of the Act or subpart L and M of this part.

(g) The Administrator shall, to the extent possible under existing law, protect the confidentiality of any complainant or other person who provides information to the Department.

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§655.1205   What is the Administrator's responsibility with respect to complaints and investigations?

(a) The Administrator, through investigation, shall determine whether a facility has failed to perform any attested conditions, misrepresented any material facts in an Attestation (including misrepresentation as to compliance with regulatory standards), or otherwise violated the Act or subpart L or M of this part. The Administrator's authority applies whether an Attestation is expired or unexpired at the time a complaint is filed. (Note: Federal criminal statutes provide for fines and/or imprisonment for knowing and willful submission of false statements to the Federal Government. 18 U.S.C. 1001; see also 18 U.S.C. 1546.)

(b) Any aggrieved person or organization may file a complaint of a violation of the provisions of section 212(m) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1182(m)) or subpart L or M of this part. No particular form of complaint is required, except that the complaint shall be written or, if oral, shall be reduced to writing by the Wage and Hour Division official who receives the complaint. The complaint must set forth sufficient facts for the Administrator to determine what part or parts of the Attestation or regulations have allegedly been violated. Upon the request of the complainant, the Administrator shall, to the extent possible under existing law, maintain confidentiality about the complainant's identity; if the complainant wishes to be a party to the administrative hearing proceedings under this subpart, the complainant shall then waive confidentiality. The complaint may be submitted to any local Wage and Hour Division office; the addresses of such offices are found in local telephone directories. Inquiries concerning the enforcement program and requests for technical assistance regarding compliance may also be submitted to the local Wage and Hour Division office.

(c) The Administrator shall determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe that the complaint warrants investigation and, if so, shall conduct an investigation, within 180 days of the receipt of a complaint. If the Administrator determines that the complaint fails to present reasonable cause for an investigation, the Administrator shall so notify the complainant, who may submit a new complaint, with such additional information as may be necessary.

(d) When an investigation has been conducted, the Administrator shall, within 180 days of the receipt of a complaint, issue a written determination, stating whether a basis exists to make a finding that the facility failed to meet a condition of its Attestation, made a misrepresentation of a material fact therein, or otherwise violated the Act or subpart L or M. The determination shall specify any sanctions imposed due to violations. The Administrator shall provide a notice of such determination to the interested parties and shall inform them of the opportunity for a hearing pursuant to §655.1220.

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§655.1210   What penalties and other remedies may the Administrator impose?

(a) The Administrator may assess a civil money penalty not to exceed $1,000 per nurse per violation, with the total penalty not to exceed $10,000 per violation. The Administrator also may impose appropriate remedies, including the payment of back wages, the performance of attested obligations such as providing training, and reinstatement and/or wages for laid off U.S. nurses.

(b) In determining the amount of civil money penalty to be assessed for any violation, the Administrator will consider the type of violation committed and other relevant factors. The matters which may be considered include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1) Previous history of violation, or violations, by the facility under the Act and subpart L or M of this part;

(2) The number of workers affected by the violation or violations;

(3) The gravity of the violation or violations;

(4) Efforts made by the violator in good faith to comply with the Attestation as provided in the Act and subparts L and M of this part;

(5) The violator's explanation of the violation or violations;

(6) The violator's commitment to future compliance, taking into account the public health, interest, or safety; and

(7) The extent to which the violator achieved a financial gain due to the violation, or the potential financial loss or potential injury or adverse effect upon the workers.

(c) The civil money penalty, back wages, and any other remedy determined by the Administrator to be appropriate, are immediately due for payment or performance upon the assessment by the Administrator, or the decision by an administrative law judge where a hearing is requested, or the decision by the Secretary where review is granted. The facility must remit the amount of the civil money penalty, by certified check or money order made payable to the order of “Wage and Hour Division, Labor.” The remittance must be delivered or mailed to the Wage and Hour Division Regional Office for the area in which the violation(s) occurred. The payment of back wages, monetary relief, and/or the performance or any other remedy prescribed by the Administrator will follow procedures established by the Administrator. The facility's failure to pay the civil money penalty, back wages, or other monetary relief, or to perform any other assessed remedy, will result in the rejection by ETA of any future Attestation submitted by the facility until such payment or performance is accomplished.

(d) The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended (28 U.S.C. 2461 note), requires that inflationary adjustments to civil money penalties in accordance with a specified cost-of-living formula be made, by regulation, at least every four years. The adjustments are to be based on changes in the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for the U.S. City Average for All Items. The adjusted amounts will be published in the Federal Register. The amount of the penalty in a particular case will be based on the amount of the penalty in effect at the time the violation occurs.

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§655.1215   How are the Administrator's investigation findings issued?

(a) The Administrator's determination, issued under §655.1205(d), shall be served on the complainant, the facility, and other interested parties by personal service or by certified mail at the parties' last known addresses. Where service by certified mail is not accepted by the party, the Administrator may exercise discretion to serve the determination by regular mail. Where the complainant has requested confidentiality, the Administrator shall serve the determination in a manner which will not breach that confidentiality.

(b) The Administrator's written determination required by §655.1205(c) shall:

(1) Set forth the determination of the Administrator and the reason or reasons therefore; prescribe any remedies or penalties including the amount of any unpaid wages due, the actions required for compliance with the facility Attestation, and the amount of any civil money penalty assessment and the reason or reasons therefore.

(2) Inform the interested parties that they may request a hearing under §655.1220.

(3) Inform the interested parties that if a request for a hearing is not received by the Chief Administrative Law Judge within 15 days of the date of the determination, the determination of the Administrator shall become final and not appealable.

(4) Set forth the procedure for requesting a hearing, and give the address of the Chief Administrative Law Judge.

(5) Inform the parties that, under §655.1255, the Administrator shall notify the Department of Homeland Security and ETA of the occurrence of a violation by the employer.

[75 FR 10406, Mar. 5, 2010]

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§655.1220   Who can appeal the Administrator's findings and what is the process?

(a) Any interested party desiring review of a determination issued under §655.1205(d), including judicial review, must make a request for an administrative hearing in writing to the Chief Administrative Law Judge at the address stated in the notice of determination. If such a request for an administrative hearing is timely filed, the Administrator's determination shall be inoperative unless and until the case is dismissed or the Administrative Law Judge issues an order affirming the decision.

(b) An interested party may request a hearing in the following circumstances:

(1) Where the Administrator determines that there is no basis for a finding of violation, the complainant or other interested party may request a hearing. In such a proceeding, the party requesting the hearing shall be the prosecuting party and the facility shall be the respondent; the Administrator may intervene as a party or appear as amicus curiae at any time in the proceeding, at the Administrator's discretion.

(2) Where the Administrator determines that there is a basis for a finding of violation, the facility or other interested party may request a hearing. In such a proceeding, the Administrator shall be the prosecuting party and the facility shall be the respondent.

(c) No particular form is prescribed for any request for hearing permitted by this part. However, any such request shall:

(1) Be dated;

(2) Be typewritten or legibly written;

(3) Specify the issue or issues stated in the notice of determination giving rise to such request;

(4) State the specific reason or reasons why the party requesting the hearing believes such determination is in error;

(5) Be signed by the party making the request or by an authorized representative of such party; and

(6) Include the address at which such party or authorized representative desires to receive further communications relating thereto.

(d) The request for such hearing must be received by the Chief Administrative Law Judge, at the address stated in the Administrator's notice of determination, no later than 10 days after the date of the determination. An interested party which fails to meet this 10-day deadline for requesting a hearing may thereafter participate in the proceedings only by consent of the administrative law judge, either through intervention as a party under 29 CFR 18.10 (b) through (d) or through participation as an amicus curiae under 29 CFR 18.12.

(e) The request may be filed in person, by facsimile transmission, by certified or regular mail, or by courier service. For the requesting party's protection, if the request is filed by mail, it should be certified mail. If the request is filed by facsimile transmission, the original of the request, signed by the requestor or authorized representative, must be filed within 10 days of the date of the Administrator's notice of determination.

(f) Copies of the request for a hearing must be sent by the requestor to the Wage and Hour Division official who issued the Administrator's notice of determination, to the representative(s) of the Solicitor of Labor identified in the notice of determination, and to all known interested parties.

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§655.1225   What are the rules of practice before an ALJ?

(a) Except as specifically provided in this subpart, and to the extent they do not conflict with the provisions of this subpart, the “Rules of Practice and Procedure for Administrative Hearings Before the Office of Administrative Law Judges” established by the Secretary at 29 CFR part 18 shall apply to administrative proceedings under this subpart.

(b) As provided in the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 556, any oral or documentary evidence may be received in proceedings under this part. The Federal Rules of Evidence and subpart B of the Rules of Practice and Procedure for Administrative Hearings Before the Office of Administrative Law Judges (29 CFR part 18, subpart B) do not apply, but principles designed to ensure production of relevant and probative evidence shall guide the admission of evidence. The administrative law judge may exclude evidence which is immaterial, irrelevant, or unduly repetitive.

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§655.1230   What time limits are imposed in ALJ proceedings?

(a) Under this subpart, a party may serve any pleading or document by regular mail. Service is complete upon mailing to the last known address. No additional time for filing or response is authorized where service is by mail. In the interest of expeditious proceedings, the administrative law judge may direct the parties to serve pleadings or documents by a method other than regular mail.

(b) Two (2) copies of all pleadings and other documents in any administrative law judge proceeding shall be served on the attorneys for the Administrator. One copy must be served on the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210, and one copy on the attorney representing the Administrator in the proceeding.

(c) Time will be computed beginning with the day following the action and includes the last day of the period unless it is a Saturday, Sunday, or Federally-observed holiday, in which case the time period includes the next business day.

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§655.1235   What are the ALJ proceedings?

(a) Upon receipt of a timely request for a hearing filed in accordance with §655.1220, the Chief Administrative Law Judge shall appoint an administrative law judge to hear the case.

(b) Within seven (7) days following the assignment of the case, the administrative law judge shall notify all interested parties of the date, time, and place of the hearing. All parties shall be given at least five (5) days notice of such hearing.

(c) The date of the hearing shall be not more than 60 days from the date of the Administrator's determination. Because of the time constraints imposed by the Act, no requests for postponement shall be granted except for compelling reasons and by consent of all the parties to the proceeding.

(d) The administrative law judge may prescribe a schedule by which the parties are permitted to file a pre-hearing brief or other written statement of fact or law. Any such brief or statement shall be served upon each other party in accordance with §655.1230. Posthearing briefs will not be permitted except at the request of the administrative law judge. When permitted, any such brief shall be limited to the issue or issues specified by the administrative law judge, shall be due within the time prescribed by the administrative law judge, and shall be served on each other party in accordance with §655.1230.

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§655.1240   When and how does an ALJ issue a decision?

(a) Within 90 days after receipt of the transcript of the hearing, the administrative law judge shall issue a decision.

(b) The decision of the administrative law judge shall include a statement of findings and conclusions, with reasons and basis therefore, upon each material issue presented on the record. The decision shall also include an appropriate order which may affirm, deny, reverse, or modify, in whole or in part, the determination of the Administrator; the reason or reasons for such order shall be stated in the decision. The administrative law judge shall not render determinations as to the legality of a regulatory provision or the constitutionality of a statutory provision.

(c) The decision shall be served on all parties in person or by certified or regular mail.

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§655.1245   Who can appeal the ALJ's decision and what is the process?

(a) The Administrator or any interested party desiring review of the decision and order of an administrative law judge, including judicial review, must petition the Department's Administrative Review Board (Board) to review the ALJ's decision and order. To be effective, such petition must be received by the Board within 30 days of the date of the decision and order. Copies of the petition must be served on all parties and on the administrative law judge.

(b) No particular form is prescribed for any petition for the Board's review permitted by this subpart. However, any such petition must:

(1) Be dated;

(2) Be typewritten or legibly written;

(3) Specify the issue or issues stated in the administrative law judge's decision and order giving rise to such petition;

(4) State the specific reason or reasons why the party petitioning for review believes such decision and order are in error;

(5) Be signed by the party filing the petition or by an authorized representative of such party;

(6) Include the address at which such party or authorized representative desires to receive further communications relating thereto; and

(7) Attach copies of the administrative law judge's decision and order, and any other record documents which would assist the Board in determining whether review is warranted.

(c) Whenever the Board determines to review the decision and order of an administrative law judge, a notice of the Board's determination must be served upon the administrative law judge and upon all parties to the proceeding within 30 days after the Board's receipt of the petition for review. If the Board determines that it will review the decision and order, the order shall be inoperative unless and until the Board issues an order affirming the decision and order.

(d) Within 15 days of receipt of the Board's notice, the Office of Administrative Law Judges shall forward the complete hearing record to the Board.

(e) The Board's notice shall specify:

(1) The issue or issues to be reviewed;

(2) The form in which submissions must be made by the parties (e.g., briefs, oral argument);

(3) The time within which such submissions must be made.

(f) All documents submitted to the Board must be filed with the Administrative Review Board, Room S-4309, U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, D.C. 20210. An original and two copies of all documents must be filed. Documents are not deemed filed with the Board until actually received by the Board. All documents, including documents filed by mail, must be received by the Board either on or before the due date.

(g) Copies of all documents filed with the Board must be served upon all other parties involved in the proceeding. Service upon the Administrator must be in accordance with §655.1230(b).

(h) The Board's final decision shall be issued within 180 days from the date of the notice of intent to review. The Board's decision shall be served upon all parties and the administrative law judge.

(i) Upon issuance of the Board's decision, the Board shall transmit the entire record to the Chief Administrative Law Judge for custody in accordance with §655.1250.

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§655.1250   Who is the official record keeper for these administrative appeals?

The official record of every completed administrative hearing procedure provided by subparts L and M of this part shall be maintained and filed under the custody and control of the Chief Administrative Law Judge. Upon receipt of a complaint seeking review of the final agency action in a United States District Court, the Chief Administrative Law Judge shall certify the official record and shall transmit such record to the clerk of the court.

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§655.1255   What are the procedures for debarment of a facility based on a finding of violation?

(a) The Administrator shall notify the Department of Homeland Security and ETA of the final determination of a violation by a facility upon the earliest of the following events:

(1) Where the Administrator determines that there is a basis for a finding of violation by a facility, and no timely request for hearing is made under §655.1220; or

(2) Where, after a hearing, the administrative law judge issues a decision and order finding a violation by a facility, and no timely petition for review to the Board is made under §655.1245; or

(3) Where a petition for review is taken from an administrative law judge's decision and the Board either declines within 30 days to entertain the appeal, under §655.1245(c), or the Board affirms the administrative law judge's determination; or

(4) Where the administrative law judge finds that there was no violation by a facility, and the Board, upon review, issues a decision under §655.1245(h), holding that a violation was committed by a facility.

(b) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, upon receipt of the Administrator's notice under paragraph (a) of this section, shall not approve petitions filed with respect to that employer under section 212(m) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1182(m)) during a period of at least 12 months from the date of receipt of the Administrator's notification. The Administrator must provide USCIS with a recommendation as to the length of the debarment.

(c) ETA, upon receipt of the Administrator's notice under paragraph (a) of this section, shall suspend the employer's attestation(s) under subparts L and M of this part, and shall not accept for filing any attestation submitted by the employer under subparts L and M of this part, for a period of 12 months from the date of receipt of the Administrator's notification or for a longer period if one is specified by the Department of Homeland Security for visa petitions filed by that employer under section 212(m) of the INA.

[75 FR 10406, Mar. 5, 2010]

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§655.1260   Can Equal Access to Justice Act attorney fees be awarded?

A proceeding under subpart L or M of this part is not subject to the Equal Access to Justice Act, as amended, 5 U.S.C. 504. In such a proceeding, the administrative law judge shall have no authority to award attorney fees and/or other litigation expenses under the provisions of the Equal Access to Justice Act.

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