The Department of Labor's attacks by press release continue today.

The Fragomen law firm was joined today by two other high profile players in the immigration bar in facing the wrath of the DOL.  Pittsburgh-based Cohen and Grigsby will have all of their labor certification cases run through an arduous supervised recruitment process. The DOL audited the firm's cases after a seminar the firm posted on YouTube was circulated around the country. The firm received considerable criticism because of claims made that the firm was minimizing the obligation to fairly consider US workers in the course of the labor certification process.

The highly reputable immigration software vendor LawLogix has been debarred from filing PERM cases for a three year period. The firm is being punished for improperly creating PERM accounts that were used for testing the software. According to the DOL:

LawLogix submitted more than 100 applications using the permanent program's online filing system in the last year, apparently for the sole purpose of testing the parameters of the department's electronic processing system.

It is very, very important for customers of LawLogix to understand that the debarment of LawLogix ONLY applies to  PERM applications that the company would be filing on behalf of its own employees. This announcement has no bearing on applications filed by companies who are LawLogix's customers.

I'm particularly concerned about the impact the press release will have on LawLogix, a company that provides a very good product and which has never been accused of any sort of wrongdoing. Today's press release could lead to very unfair conclusions by LawLogix customers and potential customers. I am NOT a customer of the firm and have no financial or other interest in the company, but I have met some of the people at the company and I found them to be good people simply trying to provide a quality product and service their very demanding clients. I have never heard anyone ever criticize the company's ethics.

What is galling about this is not so much that the Labor Department is targeting the bar and its vendors (I am not in a position to opine, for example, on what the DOL found in the audit of the Cohen and Grigsby clients), but how DOL has chosen to pursue its actions. Issuing press releases can - has - caused tremendous damage to the reputation of the subjects of those press releases. The targeted companies have not received due process and are immediately tainted in the eyes of their clients and customers as well as the wider public.

While presumably the DOL is interested in creating a deterrent effect, it is completely unfair to use a press release as the means of getting a message across when the subject of the press release has not had a sufficient opportunity to defend itself and prove it is innocent of the accusations in the press release. Sure LawLogix can appeal the debarment. But if it is successful, will that undue the damage they've suffered? There's a fair way and an unfair way for the DOL to do its job and issuing press releases attacking law firms and employers that have not had the reasonable opportunity to defend themselves first is most definitely not the fair way.