By Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

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Godwin’s Nursery and Trees paid nearly over $117,000 in back-pay and $29,500 in penalties after the U.S. Department of Labor determined the company passed over qualified U.S. citizen workers from Puerto Rico in favor of hiring foreign workers under the H-2A visa program.

The Department of Labor determined that the nursery violated Section 218 of the Immigration and Nationality Act by denying five qualified workers from Puerto Rico the chance to work; instead, hiring four Mexican nationals through the H-2A visa program.

Additionally, Department of Labor determined that Godwin failed to post information about the rights of agricultural workers, as required by law, and he failed to provide housing for the workers that adhered to housing health and safety standards.

Remember if an employer is going to utilize the H-2A program or other non-immigrant visa programs, such as H-2A, one cannot discriminate against U.S. citizens.