DOL Wage and Hour Division: H-1B Worker Back Wages Violations found in an Audit of Maryland’s Prince George’s County Public Schools

Prince George’s County Public Schools system in Maryland has agreed to pay the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division $4.2 million in back wages due for 1,044 foreign national teachers in H-1B status in an agreement dated July 7, 2011. Most of the teachers in question are from the Philippines. 

Additionally, the school system has agreed to pay $100,000 in civil money penalties and to Teacher : School concept Stock Photobe debarred for two years from filing new H-1B petitions, extension petitions, or labor certifications for permanent residency for foreign workers due to the willful nature of some of the violations. For example, the Prince George County Public Schools required the foreign workers to pay the filing and anti-fraud fees, thereby reducing wages below the amount legally required to be paid. The H-1B visa program requires employers to pay these fees. 

The two-year debarment means that the Prince George County Public Schools will be terminating some H-1B teachers whose visas are expiring in the near future. The school board estimates that approximately 160 H-1B employees will be immediately impacted by the settlement because their visas expire in July and August 2011. Those teachers will not be able to teach during the 2011-2012 academic school year and will return to their home countries.