back to article Software contractor accused of favoring foreigners on work visas over Americans agrees to cough up $42,000

A Texas-based software contractor has settled a lawsuit that accused it of illegally discriminating against American programmers by favoring foreigner workers to keep wages low. The legal action was brought by the US government's Dept of Justice, which – under its 2017 Protecting US Workers Initiative – has been steadily …

  1. Mike 137 Silver badge

    However in the UK

    Hiring overseas workers on sub-standard salaries isn't so easy here in the UK, as there's a minimum salary provision in the legislation. However quite soon it'll be possible to make any contract they like fall under IR35. That way they can skip paying for holidays, sickness and pensions and sack on a whim.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: However in the UK

      uh, with a LOT of that you pretty much described the typical contracting gig...

      I actually prefer contracting to 'wage slaving', because the extra pay generally means that I don't _HAVE_ to take my payment in the form of vacation, etc. [vacations are what the 'between gig' times are]

      1. NeilPost Silver badge

        Re: However in the UK

        ‘because the extra pay’ .... kinda exactly why IR35 is a thing.

        If you had a longer term contract would you just skip holidays and damage your mental and physical health ??

  2. Peter2 Silver badge

    The purpose of a fine should be to provide a painful reminder that it is more expensive to break the rules than it is to follow them. I'm far from convinced that a 42k +15k fine is enough to acheive this; it's plausible that companies save much more than this a year by breaking the rules so it's probably going to be cheaper for them to agree not to do it again and keep doing it (with training for the people doing it largely consisting of "don't admit guilt in the job applications").

    1. HildyJ Silver badge
      FAIL

      Ikon Systems

      Ikon, from what I can find, makes over $2m in revenue. This judgment would amount to a few percent of that. It seems low (and I'm not surprised. Most government fines in the US seem to be slaps on the wrist rather than public flogging (metaphorical or literal, I'd find either acceptable).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      From article this it seems that employeers are using foreign workers to control wages, this to me suggests that employing foreign workers should be restricted to work where the employer has had to prove that there are no unemployed locals availible to do the work.

      Bringing in people from outside the country where a company is based should be more costly for the company than employing locally, that the dev here had to take the employer to court for a measly payout suggests that the US condones this behaviour.

      Just considering the lost taxes and associated benefit to the state from healthcare/pensions etc then employing externally means that this is money/benefit lost to the state and civillians.

      I can understand bringing in expertise where it does exist locally but from this article the employer here is acting against the US for their own profit and should have had all the money they made from being a traitor taken, off them rather than a just token payout that is but a drop in the ocean compared with the damage they have done.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        >the employer has had to prove that there are no unemployed locals availible to do the work.

        They do, the solution is to advertise for C++ programmers in the Wichita pigeon fancier weekly and show that you received no replies.

        >that the dev here had to take the employer to court for a measly payout suggests that the US condones this behaviour.

        There was a certain 'push back' on their previous slave labour system so they modified it.

        >considering the lost taxes and associated benefit to the state from healthcare/pensions etc then employing externally means that this is money/benefit lost to the state and civillians.

        Employing temporary immigrants is a net good for the state's income. They were raised and educated at somebody elses expense, they pay taxes to you and then leave before receiving any of the benefits.

        Crack down on it too much and they move the jobs abroad and you lose out on both the taxes and all their spend in the local economy.

        The company gets to employ cheap labour and drive down the cost of competing local labour, the government gets to keep the tax take - everybody important wins.

  3. Chris Hills

    I hope they had to pay costs as well, otherwise it's just another business expense.

    1. onemark03 Bronze badge

      ... just another business expense.

      $US27,000 is indeed just another business expense. It should have been $US270,000 and the same amount again in damages to show the industry Uncle Sam ain't foolin' around.

  4. JK63

    Let us know when they go after the big players in the industry. That's where the real damage has been done.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      The big players don't discriminate up front in their ads, on the other hand it is alleged "Ikon Systems posted at least eight job adverts that explicitly stated it wanted to recruit foreigners on employment visas – such as H-1B holders"

      Hire a better recruiting officer.

  5. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    "It also has to consider the aforementioned software developer for all positions they apply for in the next six months, if they meet the minimum requirements, and pay them $15,000 in damages."

    And what is the betting that he and other US based developers won't be able to meet those requirements for whatever tenuous bottom-of-barrel scraping reasons.

    1. MiguelC Silver badge
      Meh

      Why would he ever want to work there after this is beyond comprehension. I'm sure he'd have a most welcoming and nurturing work environment...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      We were looking for a US based programmer recently and $10,000 would be about a months wages in the US. I think that so many programming jobs have moved abroad that there are very few remaining programmers - experienced programmers are hard to find in the US so they get paid very well when they get a job.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Many experienced programmers got out of the field because they weren't being paid very well and they still don't get good offers. I'm talking people with 20+ years.

  6. Nifty Silver badge

    Eyesight problem here. I looked again and the missing nougts on the end of the figure for that fine were real and not imagined.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Removes bus ticket from saucer of cold tea, and gets ready to inflict a damn good slapping with it.

  8. Sparkus

    need to scale these fines up

    to high-percentages of a firms total yearly turnover. Not profit, but net turnover. And hang a goodly part of the fines on the Executive leadership and Board of Directors.

    A few billion here and there, people will figure it out. And insurance companies will stop writing coverage for people who are fined in this way.

  9. ecofeco Silver badge

    Told ya

    And I'll say it again, they aren't the only ones doing this.

  10. RLWatkins

    Pocket change.

    Why say more?

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