On various occasions we have received calls from H-1B workers who became aware of various legal rights (e.g. right to file a wage complaint with Department of Labor) from information they found on the internet (e.g. DOL’s website pages about H-1B wage rights).

While it is a great thing to educate yourself, please do not make the mistake of assuming the information you learned is comprehensive, or means exactly what you think it does.  And please, please don’t rush to your employer, and admonish them based on your internet-based understanding of your rights (e.g. “DOL’s website tells me you’re a bad employer and violating H-1B laws!!”).

There are many problems that can arise when an employee avoids talking to an attorney and takes a do-it-yourself analysis of legal rights based on internet research or other incomplete information.

For example, you may learn from internet research that immigration law provides H-1B employees with the right to be paid the prevailing wage, and that you can file a DOL complaint to try to get unpaid wages.  What you may NOT have read on the internet are OTHER issues that are important to consider before one files a DOL complaint.  For example, issues like (1) whether your employer is indeed violating the law- sometimes there is a technicality of law or fact that spares the employer from a violation; (2) whether you are beyond the legal deadline and, if not, whether the timing is right to file a complaint; (3) how your employer may react to a complaint, and how that may affect your plans and timing; (4) whether a DOL complaint, rather than other means such as a lawsuit, is the best mechanism for pursuing your rights;  and (5) whether it is a good idea to try to settle with the employer before filing a complaint and seeking a legal decision; etc.

In order to get a legal decision, you may have to expend a good deal of time (possibly years) and expense.

All of the above is information that an internet search may not tell you, but a competent attorney can. (Please note: there are many good outcomes that could happen from you pursuing your legal rights that an attorney could tell you about too).

Before you rush to admonish your H-1B employer about any legal right, you should strongly consider talking to an attorney. Many attorneys will provide free initial consultations over the phone, and even a single consultation should educate you about some wrong assumptions you made based on internet information.  Information you learn at the consultation could save you from making some serious mistakes with regard to your employer.

Additional Information

To learn more about H-1B rights and options, please see these posts:

For information about H-1B Rights & Immigration Rights Attorneys Michael F. Brown and Vonda K. Vandaveer, please visit here.

This blog is authored by Employee and H-1B Rights Attorney Michael Brown of the law firm of Peterson, Berk & Cross, and Immigration Attorney Vonda K. Vandaveer of the law firm V.K. Vandaveer, P.L.L.C.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is NOT legal advice, nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship between you and the attorneys or law firms above. Legal advice often varies among situations. If you want legal advice for your specific circumstances, you must consult with an attorney.

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