On June 26, 2018, the Department of Justice (DOJ) reached a settlement with Triple H Services LLC, a landscaping company based in Newland, North Carolina, that handles business in Virginia and four other states. The agreement resolves a DOJ investigation concluding Triple H unlawfully discriminated against qualified and available U.S. workers based on their citizenship status by preferring to hire temporary workers with H-2B visas.
The DOJ investigation found that although Triple H went through the motions of advertising more than 450 landscape laborer vacancies in five states, it did so in a manner that misled U.S. workers about the available positions and prevented or deterred some from applying. The agency found that Triple H did not consider several qualified U.S. workers who applied for positions in Virginia during the recruitment period, and instead hired H-2B visa workers. In several states where jobs were available, DOJ found that Triple H prematurely closed the online job application process for U.S. worker applicants, filled positions with H-2B visa workers without first advertising the jobs to U.S. workers in the relevant locations, or advertised vacancies in a manner that did not make the postings visible to job seekers using state workforce agency online services. DOJ concluded that in taking these actions, Triple H effectively denied U.S. workers access to jobs based on its preference for hiring temporary H-2B visa workers to fill the positions.
Under the settlement, Triple H must establish a back pay fund, with a cap of $85,000, to compensate certain individuals who were harmed by its practices. The agreement also requires Triple H to pay $15,600 in civil penalties, engage in enhanced recruitment activities to attract U.S. workers, and be subject to DOJ monitoring for a three-year period.
This settlement is part of the Civil Rights Division’s “Protecting U.S. Workers Initiative,” which is aimed at targeting, investigating, and taking enforcement actions against companies that discriminate against U.S. workers in favor of temporary visa workers. Under this initiative, the Civil Rights Division has opened dozens of investigations, filed one lawsuit, and reached settlement agreements with three employers. Since the initiative’s inception, employers have agreed to pay or have distributed over $285,000 in back pay to affected U.S. workers, DOJ said. The Division has also increased its collaboration with other federal agencies to combat discrimination and abuse by employers using foreign visa workers.