By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

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The Department of Justice announced Barrios Street Realty LLC, a Louisiana company, has paid approximately $108,000 to 12 U.S. workers pursuant to a settlement with DOJ. The payments are part of a March 2016 settlement that resolved claims that Barrios discriminated against U.S. workers in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The investigation found in July 2014, Barrios Street Realty and Jorge Arturo Guerrero Rodriguez failed to consider or improperly rejected 73 U.S. workers who applied for positions as sheet metal roofers or laborers, and then solicited foreign workers to fill these positions. The Office Special Counsel (later re-named Immigrant and Employee Rights Section) of the Department of Justice determined the company’s applications for foreign workers falsely claimed that its earlier efforts to fill the sheet metal and laborer positions failed to identify qualified U.S. workers. Refusing to consider or hire qualified U.S. workers because of their citizenship violates H-2B regulations and the INA’s anti-discrimination provision.

The settlement required Barrios to pay $30,000 in civil penalties and up to $115,000 in back pay to compensate U.S. workers who were denied employment because of the company’s reliance on H-2B visa workers. After entering the settlement, the department determined that 12 U.S. workers were entitled to receive back pay totaling approximately $108,000, and the company made the final payments to the workers last week.

This settlement is another effort by the Department of Justice to protect American workers. You might President Trump discuss this settlement in an upcoming speech as the Administration’s efforts to protect American workers.