Cleaning Company Fined for Underpaying Temporary Foreign Workers

March 23, 2021

The U.S. Department of Labor has fined Universal Cleaners LLC for violating the pay requirements of its temporary foreign workers, Up North Live reports.  

The Traverse City, Michigan-based company will pay US$56,734 in back wages to 10 workers who provided janitorial services for the company but were paid less than the required prevailing wage rate. The company will also pay $51,309 in civil penalties.

Universal Cleaners hired the employees through the H-2B visa program, which helps supply employers with temporary foreign workers they need while protecting U.S. workers’ access to the same jobs. However, the company violated the H2-B visa program on several counts including:

  • Failing to advertise to U.S. workers that housing would be provided with this job
  • Failing to subject potential employees to drug tests and lifting requirements although it advertised to U.S. workers that the job was subject to these stipulations
  • Paying temporary foreign workers $10.50 and $11.25 per hour instead of the required prevailing wage rate for janitorial work of $12.56 per hour
  • Employing a temporary foreign worker to do landscaping, despite being hired to work as a janitor.
  • Failing to reimburse guest workers for their expenses traveling from and returning to their home countries.
  • Applying for temporary foreign workers for employment from April 1 to November 30 but employing some workers outside of that period.
  • Failing to notify proper authorities of the separation of one of the temporary foreign workers.

Universal Cleaners has agreed to use a controller to oversee all hiring, payroll and employment practices involving temporary foreign workers in the future.


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